Militant attacks in Pakistan raise concerns

After a series of Islamic militant attacks on Pakistan’s army headquarters, analysts debate nuclear weapons security.  Hans Kristensen of the Nuclear Information Project of the Federation of American Scientists estimates that Pakistan has between 70 and 90 nuclear warheads, which are broken into components and stored separately in an isolated, elite troop patrolled location.  "One cannot compare insurgents going into an office building to them going into a nuclear facility for the nation's crown jewels," said Kristensen.  Thousands of people and vehicles enter the headquarters compound in Rawalpindi daily, and the 10 attackers, while able to take dozens of hostages Saturday and kill 14 people.  However, cautions Kristensen, "if a relatively small group of people is able to penetrate into their 'Pentagon,' then it might show something about the overconfidence of the Pakistanis, and that is worrisome — it's surprising that they were able to go in there relatively simply."  Pakistan has sought U.S. assistance in protecting its nuclear weapons facilities, and US and British governments agree that there is little risk of a weapon falling into militants' hands.  According to Kristensen however, "they [U.S. officials] have not been allowed to go to those sites, so it's something they've had to do remotely."