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Obama feared Pak Taliban had nukes

Soon after assuming office in 2009, President Barack Obama experienced a security nightmare about the possibility of Taliban in Pakistan acquiring a nuclear bomb, with the fear lurking at the back of his mind that the loose weapon could be headed for a major US city.

world Updated: Jun 07, 2012 00:17 IST

Soon after assuming office in 2009, President Barack Obama experienced a security nightmare about the possibility of Taliban in Pakistan acquiring a nuclear bomb, with the fear lurking at the back of his mind that the loose weapon could be headed for a major US city.

US intelligence told the President during a key Oval office meeting that they had received information about Taliban acquiring a nuclear bomb, says the latest book by New York Times journalist David Sanger, adding Obama’s aides also worried about the leak of the news to both India and Pakistan.

In the book entitled Confront and Conceal that hit the stands on Monday, Sanger wrote: “Obama decided he could not take the chance that the story was false: he ordered one of the US government’s nuclear-detection-and-disablement teams to travel to the region in case it was needed for the search.

“Obama’s aides worried that if news of Washington’s suspicions leaked, the Indians — who had barely held back retaliating against Pakistan after a deadly attack in Mumbai the previous year — would mobilise and put their forces on high alert,” Sanger said.

That would trigger a Pakistani response, and the chance for miscalculations and deadly escalations would soar, he said.