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Pak nukes safe despite Taliban threat: US, UK

Source: PTI
October 11, 2009 19:06 IST
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The United States and the United Kingdom on Sunday said they are confident about Pakistan's control over its nuclear weapons despite an 'increasing threat' to its authority from terrorists, a day after Taliban militants carried out an audacious attack on the Army Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

"We have confidence in the Pakistani government and military's control over its nuclear weapons," US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a press conference with UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

Pakistan faced a 'mortal threat,' but there was no risk of its nuclear weapons falling into terrorist hands, Miliband said. Speaking in London, Clinton said that despite the attack, the US remained confident about Pakistan's control over its nuclear weapons.

"Yesterday was another reminder that extremists are increasingly threatening the authority of the state, but we see no evidence they are going to take over the state," Clinton said.

The attack, which began yesterday and turned into a siege, ended hours ago after hostages were released. Forces freed more than 40 hostages at the Rawalpindi base. Overall, at least 19 people were killed during the attack -- six soldiers, two commandos, eight terrorists and three hostages.

Talking about Iran, Clinton warned that the international community would not wait 'indefinitely' for Tehran to meet its obligations on its nuclear programme, while Miliband said Iran would never have a better opportunity to establish normal ties with the rest of the world.

Clinton said that their joint resolve in the fight against the Taliban was 'strong and clear,' and that they were determined to work with the new Afghan government, the BBC reported.

Pakistani security forces freed more than 40 hostages held at the base, in the city of Rawalpindi. Three hostages and two soldiers died in the operation along with at least four militants. Four militants and six soldiers died in the initial attack. The attack came as the army was preparing for a major operation against the Taliban, which officials say have claimed responsibility. The Taliban had been threatening to carry out attacks unless operations against it were stopped.

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