Pakistani Air Force bases. Note nuclear weapons sites Sarghoda and Kamra.
DEBKAfile has rumors of the Taliban targeting the bases containing Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.
DEBKAfile’s military sources report: Five days Taliban gunmen and bombers hit Pakistan’s army headquarters in Islamabad and at the same time advanced on the northwestern Kohat road to Peshawar and a cluster of air bases holding its nuclear arsenal around Kamra in the North West Frontier Province.
Thursday, Taliban struck further northeast toward the Kamra nuclear center, aiming to cut it off from Islamabad, 150 kilometers east of Kohat. They have begun encircling the Sargodha air base, the location of nuclear warheads stores. En route, suicide attackers flattened a police station in the Saddar suburb of Kohat town, killing 10 people and wounding 20.
Taliban has stepped up the tempo of its large-scale assaults in an effort to unbalance central government and the military command as they prepare a major offensive against terrorist bastions in South Waziristan.
This news agency story discusses varying opinions of the security of Pakistan’s estimated 70 to 90 nuclear warheads.
Bill Roggio has analysis of what is going on.
The spate of attacks at military bases has largely targeted officers, new recruits, and the families of those serving. The Taliban and al Qaeda’s objective may be two-fold: intimidate officers either on the fence or who do not support the Islamists, and erode the military’s capacity to defend nuclear installations if the Taliban and al Qaeda can mount a raid to seize nuclear weapons. While the Pakistani nuclear weapons are under tight security according to the government, US intelligence officials have repeatedly expressed concerned over the safety of Pakistan’s arsenal.
The Taliban’s campaign to take control of Pakistan’s Northwest Frontier Province and its strong presence in Quetta and wider Baluchistan Province also plays into the West’s fears over Pakistan’s nuclear program. The Northwest Frontier Province not only serves as a base for the Taliban and al Qaeda Central Command, the territory directly abuts sensitive nuclear sites in the province of Punjab.