More terror groups eye Pak nuke weapons: Petraeus
Many terror groups based in the region are eyeing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, a top most US commander has said stressing that a strong vigil is needed to be maintained.world Updated: Mar 17, 2011 22:39 IST
Many terror groups based in the region are eyeing Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, a top most US commander has said stressing that a strong vigil is needed to be maintained.
Hinting that groups other than al- Qaeda and Taliban might be seeking to arm themselves with nuclear weapons, General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan has suggested that US should stay engaged in the area in which "we have such vital interests".
Though the US commander did not name the groups, American security officials have said that Punjab based groups like LeT, JeM and Sipah-i-Sabha were now working closely with al-Qaeda and Taliban in the tribal areas close to the Af-Pak border.
The General also raised the possibility of operating joint military bases with local forces, after US troops withdraw from Afghanistan in 2014.
Previously US had said that it was only groups like al-Qaeda and Taliban that were out to acquire small sized nuclear weapons, but now General David Petraeus, Commander of US and NATO forces in Afghanistan said "there are many groups operating on Pak-Afghan border eyeing weapons of mass destructions".
"There are certainly other elements in Pakistan, the Pakistani Taliban and several other varieties of elements who generally have symbiotic relationships, the most extreme of which might, indeed, value access to nuclear weapons or other weapons that could cause enormous loss of life," Petraeus told the Senate Armed Services Committee.
While the focus of the hearing was the war in Afghanistan, the central theme of the US commanders deposition was on threat emanating from ungoverned areas of Pakistan, which served as havens for terror groups of all hues.
While assuring the lawmakers that nuclear weapons of Pakistan were for the moment safe and secure, the General said a constant vigil needed to be maintained.