Rising ISIS support in Pakistan’s nuclear testing region sparks fears of ‘dirty’ bomb
The group is understood to be preparing a new push to seize territory in the province of Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran.
The area is widely-known to be the centre of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, with controversial underground testing of atomic explosive devices in the 1990s.
And Middle East terror experts are now warning that the extremist group could be close to obtaining a ‘dirty’ bomb.
Their expansion into that particular part of Pakistan is worrying
Afzal Ashraf, a former senior officer in the RAF, said Pakistan was “the most likely place” for ISIS to obtain a nuclear explosive.
He argued that the organisation, which has declared a ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria after gaining vast swathes of territory, was now enjoying “success in getting support” in a region at the heart of Pakistan’s nuclear programme.
In 1998, Pakistan exploded five underground nuclear devices in mountains in the Balochistan region as part of an arms race with neighbouring India.
The country remains outside both the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
Its growing nuclear arsenal raises the risk that the deadly weapons or the ingredients used to construct them – enriched uranium or plutonium – could fall into the hands of ISIS.
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