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Pak nukes safe but will take action if Taliban tries hand: US

world Updated: May 20, 2009 07:26 IST

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The Pentagon has said it is comfortable with the protocols Pakistani military has in place to ensure security of its nuclear arsenal, even as the US will take "requisite action" if Taliban ever tries hand on them.

Such a statement from the Pentagon came a day after, the CIA Director Leon Panetta, said the US does not know where all the Pakistani nuclear weapons are being kept.

Defence Department spokesman, Geoff Morrell, told reporters at his daily press briefing they are "comfortable with the protocols the Pakistani military has in place to ensure the security of their nuclear arsenal."

"I am sure that our planners take whatever requisite action is required to ensure the arsenal in a country that is obviously in the midst of a great deal -- that finds itself with a great deal of challenges right now, that they have some visibility on where such weapons are located," Morrell said.

When asked about news reports that the Special Operations forces have a contingency plan to go in and secure Pakistan's nuclear weapons if the need be, Morrell said the US is comfortable with the security measures of the Pakistan.

"The last thing we want is to have the Taliban have access to the nuclear weapons in Pakistan. We're fighting, obviously, that potential in Iran. The last thing we would want is to give Al Qaeda that potential. So we continue to watch that very closely."

At a think-tank appearance in Los Angeles, Panetta had said that with regards to Pakistan's nuclear capability, the US is trying to understand where all of these are located.

"We don't have, frankly, the intelligence to know where they all are located, but we do track the Pakistanis," he said.

Responding to a question on their safety, Panetta said, "I think the (US) President indicated .. In an interview, that right now we are confident that the Pakistanis have a pretty secure approach to trying to protect these weapons."