May 5th, 2009
05:04 PM ET
6 years ago

Pakistan President says nuclear weapons are safe

 Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday is rejecting U.S. concerns some of his country's nuclear weapons are at risk of being acquired by members of the Taliban.
Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday is rejecting U.S. concerns some of his country's nuclear weapons are at risk of being acquired by members of the Taliban.

(CNN)– Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari Tuesday is rejecting U.S. concerns some of his country's nuclear weapons are at risk of being acquired by members of the Taliban.

"They are in safe hands," Zardari told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in a Tuesday interview on The Situation Room. "There is a command and control system under the president of Pakistan.

The comments come two days after the New York Times reported senior American officials are increasingly worried Taliban militants could acquire unsecured weapons in Pakistan's arsenal. The concerns have particularly grown in the last several weeks after Taliban forces Buner, a district 60 miles from Islamabad, Pakistan's capital.

In the interview with CNN, Zardari said the region is not at risk of falling into the Taliban's control.

"We have a 700,000 [man] army. How could they take over?" he said.

Zardari also brushed aside U.S. concerns Taliban sympathizers within Pakistan's army could help the organization acquire some of the country's nuclear weapons.

"There aren't any, sir, sympathizers for them," he said. "There is a mindset in the local area maybe who feel they are akin to the same religion, God, etc, etc. But nothing that should concern anybody as far as the nuclear arsenal or other instruments of such sort."

Zardari also reacted to the New York Times' report that Pakistani officials have repeatedly denied American requests for more information on the location of the country's nuclear weapons.

"I think it's on a need-to-know basis information," he said of the weapons' location. "If it comes up we might and I might not share it with them, it depends."


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