Pakistan works hard to protect its nuclear arsenal, but not from terrorists—from the US. In a huge Atlantic article provocatively titled “The Ally from Hell,” Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder reveal that Pakistan is so afraid of a US move to steal or disable its arsenal—particularly in the wake of Osama bin Laden raid—that it constantly shuttles nuclear weapons between sites to obscure their location. And often, they’re transported in unmarked, unarmored vans with only modest security through crowded city streets.
Though Pakistan says all its nuclear weapons are "de-mated," meaning the warhead and delivery systems are stored separately, Western experts are now convinced Pakistan is building mated tactical nukes—and transporting them in those vans. Nor is Pakistan wrong to be paranoid—the US does indeed have a detailed plan for how it would neutralize Pakistan’s arsenal if it had to, sources say. China has secretly told the US it would “raise no objections” if it did so—a measure of how frightening the world finds Pakistan’s lightly-secured nukes. But it would be costly. “You'd be talking about an invasion of Pakistan,” Goldberg tells NPR. Recommended: Click to read the entire piece. (Read more Pakistan stories.)