The World Must Prevent ISIS from Obtaining Pakistani Nukes

There are only two options that will work to make sure ISIS and other terrorist organizations do not obtain Pakistani nuclear weapons.

pakistani-isisThe Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) or Daesh, the most extreme among all the terrorist groups, has arrived in Pakistan.

The Pakistani media reported recently that a group of 10 commanders from ISIS are currently in Balochistan to seek allegiance of Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) and the Baloch freedom movement. This happened just a few weeks after a group of TTP under Maulana Fazlullah, voiced support for the terror group and swore allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

However, it was not only Maulana Fazlullah who teamed up with ISIS, another local group called Jamaatul Ahrar, also declared its support for ISIS. Jamaatul Ahrar’s leader, Ehsanullah Ehsan, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “We respect them. If they ask us for help, we will look into it and decide.” According to the Daily Mail, the spokesperson of TTP and six senior figures have declared loyalty to ISIS.

The presence of ISIS was also confirmed by the Pakistani government. A Pakistani security official was quoted by Pakistani media as saying: “We came across them 22 days ago and we are aware of their presence here… Pakistani security agencies are working on the Pakistan-Afghan border and have arrested a number of Taliban fighters and recovered CDs, maps, literature in Persian, Pashto and Dari. We will not permit them to work in our country and anyone who is involved in this will be crushed by the government.”

Why ISIS chose Pakistan?

The presence of ISIS in Pakistan and allegiance of TTP groups is truly a disturbing news and is likely to have serious consequences for a country that is already in turmoil due to incompetent governance, economic crises and political tension. However, this is not the sole reason behind ISIS desire to start operations in Pakistan. There are multiple encouraging points that brought ISIS to the country that is already in turmoil.

  • Large parts of Pakistan, Balochistan and FATA are at the age of bifurcations. ISIS support to the freedom fighters of Balochistan and jihadis of FATA will accelerate the freeing process of these provinces which will eventually become basis for ISIS in the region.
  • Pakistan not only sheltered the worlds most wanted terrorist, Osama Bin Laden, but also protected him for several years inside its military town, Abbottabad.
  • Pakistan also protects Ayman Al Zawahiri, Jalal din Haqani, Mullah Omer and many others. Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi will be also greeted warmly.
  • Pakistan has thousands of radical madrassas (Muslim religious schools) that can easily produce as many warriors for ISIS as they want.
  • Pakistan has radical mullahs (preachers) that can easily justify ISIS’s mission and activities in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan has the potential to produce and supply as many suicide bombers as needed.
  • Pakistan’s military establishment is a terrorist friendly entity that considers terrorist groups as strategic assets for proxy wars in India and Afghanistan.
  • Ongoing sectarian violence in Pakistan’s Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces offer greater opportunities for ISIS to operate in Pakistan.
  • Pakistan has some unprotected nuclear weapons. ISIS certainly has eyes on that and beyond any doubt it will strive to reach those weapons.

Will ISIS get hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons?

The global leaders certainly understand that the extreme threat to global security is the risk that terrorists could get a hold of nuclear weapons and start new terrorism. Although world leaders especially Americans hold several international conferences on addressing this immediate and extreme threat, there is no guarantee that terrorist organization such as ISIS won’t acquire nuclear weapons. Al-Qaeda struggled for several years to obtain nuclear and chemical weapons but they failed. However, ISIS is much stronger than Al-Qaeda and was able to hold some sort of chemical weapons in Iraq which they used against the Kurds.

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In the 16 years since Pakistan emerged as an active nuclear weapons state in 1998, there has been no reliable report of a terrorist seizure of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the risk that terrorists could acquire new weapons in Pakistan cannot be ignored.

Among all the nuclear states Pakistan is the only country that leaked and transferred nuclear technology to the countries that are still under UN and US sanctions. It is also the only nuclear state that shelters and protect terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the Taliban, Haqani Network and many others. The Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, leaked nuclear secrets to North Korea, Libya and Iran.

Abdul Qadeer Khan not only accepted the full responsibility for transferring sensitive technology to mentioned stats but he also revealed in 2004, that the former military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf was involved neck-deep in nuclear proliferation. However, after that incident Pakistan enhanced protection of its nuclear weapons, but still ISIS will strive for acquiring nuclear weapons in Pakistan. This means even if ISIS don’t fight for it, there are elements in Pakistan that may sell either nuclear technology or nuclear weapons to ISIS.

How to protect the world from nuclear terrorism in Pakistan?

If ISIS obtains nuclear weapons in Pakistan a new chapter of terrorism will emerge, and ISIS will turn into an invincible force. This time the world will have to deal with nuclear terrorism in Pakistan which will be fueled by drug money from Afghanistan and oil money from Iraq. It will certainly have severe consequence not only for Pakistan but for the region and international community.

It is important for world leaders to secure Pakistan’s nuclear weapons and make sure ISIS never gets hold of them. This bears considerable weight on the United States because America is a pioneer of the nuclear technology, and a close ally of Pakistan. Moreover, the US is a prime target of terrorism from Al-Qaeda and ISIS.

There are only two options that will work to make sure ISIS and other terrorist organizations do not obtain Pakistani nuclear weapons. First, the US takes control of Pakistan’s nukes and disarms Pakistan. In return, Washington can provide security guarantees to Pakistan similar to how it did with South Korea.

The second option is to help Pakistan increase protection of its nuclear arsenal. Although it will incur a high cost for such an action, it can’t be more than the cost of combating nuclear terrorism. However, the first option seems more feasible than the second option.

Ahmad Hasib Farhan is a graduate of Kabul University and holds a Master degree from Japan in Public Policy and Economics. Farhan is an Afghan analyst and commentator on political and socioeconomic affairs in Afghanistan. Farhan can be reached at haseebnadiri@gmail.com. Read other articles by Ahmad.

  • Lee Man

    In Sixteen years of overt nuclearization, Pakistan’s security record has been excellent. Pakistan has been the frontline state in the war on terror for last thirteen years and there has not been a single nuclear security incident. That is all because of the effective security mechanism that has been in placed by Pakistan. It is perceptible that how excellent is Pakistan nuclear security but some idiots people the author who has been funded by western corner naively raises questions related to the nuclear security.

  • Limpkisar

    What a rubbish crap, If I were the editor, I would have deleted in 1st chance. ISIS can’t even enter into Pakistan because of following reasons, 1) Pakistan is not Iraq, Syria or Egypt, It is state with a strong hold of law enforcing agencies. 2) Pakistan has well established chain of security agencies, these agencies have enough capabilities to turn their dreams into nightmares, 3) For your kind information, nuclear weapons are not tennis balls that somebody will come and take them, single Nuclear weapon is hell of thing, scattered in various pieces. More importantly , nuclear weapon of Pakistan is guarded by more than 20000 security persons who are highly trained to deal with any misadventure from terror groups. At last, please don’t compare Pakistan with Afghanistan, where your PM can be kidnapped by Taliban easily, but Pakistan is far a cry for ISIS. I assure you Pakistan has no comparison with Afghanistan , so come out illusion and wakeup and smell the coffee.

  • Limpkisar

    Get back your 3 million refugees from Pakistan before pointing finger, Your people have initiated insurgency in Pakistan. Once these Afghan refugees will leave, Pakistan will be prosperous and peaceful. Take your people back than speak against Pakistan.

  • Anaya Shahid

    Ironically, Ahmad Hasib Farhan has forgotten that Pakistan is the largest host of the Afghan refugees during and after the US invasion of Afghanistan. Pakistan continued to host the largest number of refugees in the world (1.6 million), nearly all from Afghanistan, according to a report released by United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) in Islamabad at a ceremony marked in connection with World Refugee Day. Person like ahmad who has forget all the good deeds by Pakistan and has written such rubbish false allegations cannot be sincere even with its own country.

  • H. Haris Flyn

    Hilarious piece, shows the credibility of Afghan analyst who only wanted to get some fame and attention in the global views. All of his arguments are based on fiction with no facts, AQ khan story is way old and none of the states which he mentioned like Lybia, Iran or North Korea are nuclear power yet. General Musharraf was never neck deep in nuclear proliferation! In fact in his era Pakistan improved its nuclear security architecture and then afterwards, Pakistan achieved the highest standards in physical protection measures and improved the NTI index.

  • Zainab Khan

    Ahmad must know that international politics and the game that has been started by the US imperialism and MICs is much bigger than his head and arguments. ISIS is also a byproduct of the same legacy and nuclear weapons are not that easy to get, especially Pakistan’s nukes. Yes if he say that ISIS can get hold on to some of the lost United States nuclear supplies or the Indian delivery systems available in the black market or the Australian Uranium trades, then he can make his argument stronger. Pakistan’s nuclear program is in good hands.

  • Sohail-bin-Qasim

    Ahmad must have lost his mind during his Master degree in Japan or he must have met few people, who have brained wash him! His writing is biased and based on hallucinations. Targeting only the Pakistan’s nuclear program, in actual there is no relevance of ISIS with Pakistan’s nuclear program. Snowden who has revealed the secret documents of the US has claimed that even the US has failed miserably in finding the facts that how Pakistanis manage they nuclear program, no one knows how they do it and when they do it.

  • Abu Hamza

    Wait wait wait…Pakistani boys….the author has strong arugments..I think you guys needs to learn English from the begging…He doesnt say ISIS will get it, he says, Pakistani officials may sell it to ISIS as they did before..remember Abdul Qadir Khaan and Parviz Musharaf…another issue Pakis, first you have to get sure about your borders…Khaibarpakhtoon Khwa is the Afghan area so Afghan were in their own home..not in Panjab…Soon Free Balochistan will be established…no worries…ohhh in the by the way you didnt comment anything on why ISIS chose Pakistan?? another point, the presence of ISIS was confirmed by your own government…see the link in the 2nd paragaraph…and by the way..re- read the below paragraphs…Author is right…

    In the 16 years since Pakistan emerged as an active nuclear weapons
    state in 1998, there has been no reliable report of a terrorist seizure
    of nuclear weapons in Pakistan. Nevertheless, the risk that terrorists
    could acquire new weapons in Pakistan cannot be ignored.

    Among all the nuclear states Pakistan is the only country
    that leaked and transferred nuclear technology to the countries that
    are still under UN and US sanctions. It is also the only nuclear state
    that shelters and protect terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda, the
    Taliban, Haqani Network and many others. The Pakistani nuclear scientist
    Abdul Qadeer Khan, leaked nuclear secrets to North Korea, Libya and Iran.

    Abdul
    Qadeer Khan not only accepted the full responsibility for transferring
    sensitive technology to mentioned stats but he also revealed in 2004,
    that the former military ruler, General Pervez Musharraf
    was involved neck-deep in nuclear proliferation. However, after that
    incident Pakistan enhanced protection of its nuclear weapons, but still
    ISIS will strive for acquiring nuclear weapons in Pakistan. This means
    even if ISIS don’t fight for it, there are elements in Pakistan that may
    sell either nuclear technology or nuclear weapons to ISIS.

  • Sam Gross

    Immature writing and how can news agency publish such inappropriate arguments? The US takes control of Pakistan’s nukes and disarms Pakistan? Second option to help Pakistan increase protection of its nuclear arsenal! Seriously? Childish arguments! Does even this author knows how a nuclear weapons works or is made? The US has confidence in Pakistan’s nuclear program and believes in Pakistan should have nuclear weapons for the stability of the South Asian region. It has the potential to fight against the foreign terrorist organizations and Indian imposed terrorist organization, it can also fight the ISIS which has to destroy Afghanistan first before reaching Pakistan.

    • JayMankind

      Mr.Ali aka “Sam Gross”, despite your gross attempt at an identity switcheroo, you make little sense. Pakistan has the most fertile ground for terrorists to flourish. What’s more? They even have nukes and rogue generals! It is indeed a perfect storm.

  • Darmaan

    I think that some of the arguments that the author has put forth have strong basis for example some (not all) radical madrassas in pakistan really create extremists that can be easily converted into terrorists and the proof is that almost all religious parties boast about the madrassas to be “the forts of islam”. While the fact is many of them produce terrorists for Taliban who have stabbed pakistan more severely than any indian or israeli army could do in a war. Taliban and ISIS have same way of violence and same ideology therefore they can join hands with one another and use pakistan as a base for their evil activities. However it seems very childish when he suggests a US control of pakistani nukes that will mean to give one’s head in the mouth of a crocodile which no way can be acceptable.

  • Qasim

    Regarding nuclear weapons this hype of getting hold of Pakistan weapons is since from its birth and every other person thinks and came up with this view in order to gain cheap fame. Efforts
    are being made to denigrate Pak military with a view to paving the way for implementing their agenda for destabilizing and denuclearizing Pakistan. I am sorry to say this but i think this guy have done his degree in the back room of his Afghanistan country.

  • My Take

    Let me make you clear something that recently investigators on the trail of insurgency in Balochistan for years have found evidence showing India and Afghanistan facilitating the insurgent organisations in spreading terrorism in Pakistan. The main thing that intuits me is that; why should India maintain 26 consulate offices along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan and Iran? There is a widespread perception that America’s CIA, Britain’s MI-6, India’s RAW, Israel’s Mossad and NDS of Afghanistan are active in Balochistan. So this all disorder in Pakistan is created only by some vested interests of these countries to get hold of its nuclear weapons but they cannot in their life time.

  • Faraz Hassan

    The writer seem to be drunk while writing this piece. Though the origin of IS have devastating consequences for the international community cannot be ignored because like other terrorists organization and non-state actors, its existence in the international system can disrupt the peace of the globe and eventually would bring instability. But claiming the situation that it can get hold of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons shows the mentality of the author which is quite inspired by the western politicians and analysts. He also tried the same propaganda of maligning the image of Pakistan as a responsible nuclear state. Pakistan has a robust command and control structure with trained and seasoned professionals, better know how to tackle with terrorists in case of any kind of mishap or venture. US nuclear weapons seems more prone to be accused of or seized by ISIS because of its lose control over its nuclear forces and improper management.

  • Hurmuth

    Wherever any incident regarding terrorism
    occurred we spontaneously relate that to Pakistan. Terrorism is a global
    phenomenon and ISIS basically a byproduct of instability after US invasion in
    Iraq. We can’t associate Pakistan with Afghanistan and Iraq at all. Pakistan is
    not only a responsible nuclear weapon state but possesses a comprehensive
    command and control build up. It is an open secret that Pakistan’s nuclear
    security revolves around five unbeatable major pillars of security. It is
    completely illogical to put everything of ISIS to Pakistan. The Pakistani nukes
    are completely safe and sound; no one else better ensure their security except Pakistan
    itself.

  • Nelson A.

    To prevent non-state actors from gaining access to nuclear materials, Islamabad vigorously enforces UN Security Council Resolution 1540 on WMD proliferation that includes implementation of its Export Control Act.

  • Nelson A.

    To prevent nuclear terrorism, Pakistan constructively participates in several nuclear security initiatives.

    Pakistan has a highly skilled team of security professionals and a nuclear Security Force of around 20,000 personnel. A special response force was created last year to supplement the existing SPD Security Force.

    Pakistan’s Personnel Reliability Program ensures that persons on sensitive duties remain under constant watch. There are zero prospects of insider collusion with extremists or terrorists.

  • Questor3000