British academic claims nuclear infrastructure targeted three times in two years, but
• Declan Walsh in
• guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 12 August 2009 16.49 BST
In an article for a
Gregory cited suicide attacks on a "nuclear missile site", a "nuclear airbase" and a munitions complex at Wah, close to Islamabad, described as "one of Pakistan's main nuclear weapons assembly sites".
"The risk of the transfer of nuclear weapons, weapons components or nuclear expertise to terrorists in
A military spokesman, Major General Athar Abbas, said Gregory's claims were "factually incorrect" and part of a western propaganda campaign to "malign
The bases at Wah,
The suicide attacks were widely reported when they occurred and generally were not linked to
Gregory cited a US website, the Long War Journal, as the source for his claims, the most contentious of which surrounds the Wah complex. When it was bombed in August 2008, a Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility, saying it was retaliation for army-inflicted civilian deaths in the tribal belt.
Talat Masood, a retired general and political analyst who ran the factory for eight years in the 1980s, said the nuclear link was "absolute nonsense".
The only known overt Taliban strike against
In recent years as the country plunged into turmoil, the Pakistani military has reached out to stress the security of its atomic assets. The Strategic Plans Division, which oversees nuclear operations, regularly briefs visiting diplomats and journalists about safeguards it describes as world-class.
One element is the personnel reliability programme, modelled on a similar
Meanwhile, reports emerged that at least 70 people have been killed in fighting between tribal factions in the wake of Baitullah Mehsud's apparent assassination a week ago.
The clashes occurred in Jandola, a town on the edge of South Wazisitan, between forces loyal to Mehsud and the pro-government tribal leader
This article was first published on guardian.co.uk at 16.49 BST on Wednesday 12 August 2009. It was last updated at 16.49 BST on Wednesday 12 August 2009.
• guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2009
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