By Center For Security Policy
In 2001 when the United States invaded Afghanistan, Al-Qaida stood on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons. Osama Bin Laden himself had met directly with members of an Islamic organization called Ummah Tameer-e-Nau (UTN). The head of that organization was Sultan Bashiruddin Mahmood the former head of the Pakistani nuclear power program. Bashir had already drawn for Osama a crude sketch of an atomic bomb and was discussing the possibility of building him one. Fortunately, for the whole world, that plot was discovered and dismantled in an operation still too sensitive to discuss in detail.
We may be standing on the verge of having Al-Qaida realize their dream and acquire nucs. Unfortunately, this time the guy in the White House shows no signs of caring or intending to act. It is key to Biden’s political strategy that we all believe the fall of Afghanistan had no negative security implications for America. Joe would rather we all slumber on in complacency until doomsday than admit the truth.
The Independent reported recently that the Taliban was attempting to acquire nuclear weapons. AND Magazine has confirmed independently that according to a former head of Afghan intelligence such efforts are underway. It would be more accurate to say, however, that Al Qaida is attempting to acquire these weapons. The individual leading the effort to acquire nuclear weapons is Hafiz Muhammed Agha Hakim. While Hafiz is the Taliban governor of Nuristan Province he is also a senior member of Al-Qaida. This is an example of the extent to which Al-Qaida and the Taliban now work together seamlessly.
Hafiz met recently with two “Arabs.” One of them was Abu Al-Marwan, whose father, according to the source, was associated with Abdulaziz Al-Masri’s cell in years past. Al-Masri was a senior Al-Qaida official who was a key part of Osama’s WMD programs. The purpose of this meeting was reportedly to explore the possibility of acquiring nuclear weapons from jihadist sympathizers within the Pakistani security forces that guard Pakistani nuclear weapons.
Pakistan has roughly 200 functioning nuclear weapons. The Pakistani Taliban has staged several attacks since the fall of Kabul on facilities known to be associated with the Pakistani nuclear weapons program. There has been concern for years about Islamists within the Pakistani nuclear security forces providing nuclear weapons to Islamic terrorist groups.
AND Magazine has also learned that recently the Pakistanis have made changes to how they recruit members of the nuclear security forces. Historically, these forces have been composed of Punjabis and have been extremely cohesive. The Pakistanis have now changed their recruiting practices – bringing in individuals from other parts of the country and thereby increasing the likelihood of infiltration.
There has also been recent reporting about the methodology being used by the Pakistanis to safeguard their nuclear weapons which suggests concern about their safekeeping is well warranted. According to Wired and The Atlantic, the Pakistani Strategic Plans Division which guards the country’s nuclear weapons has now begun to move atomic bombs around the country in unmarked, largely unguarded vehicles. This suggests strongly that the Pakistanis have taken note of the number of attacks by the Pakistani Taliban on nuclear-related facilities and that they no longer trust that those installations are impregnable.
The nukes travel “in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic,” according to The Atlantic. Anybody who has spent five minutes on the ground in Pakistan and so much has taken a cab to the hotel from the airport will know what is wrong with this plan. It is also of note that the Pakistani Taliban have demonstrated repeatedly their capacity to ambush heavily armed convoys of Pakistani government vehicles.
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— Benny Johnson (@bennyjohnson) December 6, 2023
EDITORS NOTE: This Center for Security Policy column is republished with permission. ©All rights reserved.