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Cables Show U.S. Worry Over Pakistani Nuclear Material


Former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson

Former U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson

Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables reveal Western concerns that Islamist militants might get access to Pakistan's nuclear material and American doubts over the abilities of the country's weak civilian government.

The revelations were published by newspapers working together with WikiLeaks, including "The New York Times," which obtained more than 250,000 leaked U.S. diplomatic files from missions around the world.

One leaked cable quotes then-U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson as saying in 2009 that "our major concern is...the chance someone working in GOP [government of Pakistan] facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon."

In reaction, a Pakistani foreign office spokesman said such fears "are misplaced" and said the United States and Britain should "part with their historical biases against Pakistan."

U.S. and Western officials have expressed concern over Pakistan's nuclear arsenal given the threat posed by Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants, but in public have generally said they believed it was safe.

compiled from agency reports
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