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US worried over Pak nukes, says Hillary

world Updated: Apr 26, 2009 22:58 IST

Washington thinks Pakistan's nuclear weapons are safe now but is worried that the Taliban and al-Qaida “would have the keys” to the arsenal if they were to topple the government, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said.

“We have very adamant assurances” on the security of the weapons from the Pakistani military and government, Clinton told Fox News in an interview from Baghdad. “We've done a lot of work over the years evaluating that.”

“I think that the current thinking of our government is that it is safe,” she said. “But that’s given the current configuration of power in Pakistan.”

“One of our concerns, which we've raised with the Pakistani government and military, is that if the worst, the unthinkable were to happen, and this advancing Taliban encouraged and supported by al-Qaida and other extremists were to essentially topple the government for failure to beat them back — then they would have the keys to the nuclear arsenal of Pakistan,” Clinton said.

“We can't even contemplate that. We cannot, you know, let this go on any further. Which is why we're pushing so hard for the Pakistanis to come together around a strategy to take their country back.”

Clinton told a House of Representatives panel on Wednesday that the worsening situation in Pakistan "poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world."