A Taliban suicide bomber has killed seven people near a nuclear weapons complex in Pakistan’s Punjab province.
The suicide bomber detonated outside a security checkpoint near the Kamra Air Weapon Complex in the district of Attock, Geo News reported. Three security personnel and four civilians were killed in the blast, and 12 more were wounded.
The attack is the latest in a string of suicide strikes and military assaults by the Taliban against Pakistan’s security forces, the government, and civilians. Today the Taliban assassinated a senior general and his driver near the general’s home in Islamabad. Yesterday the Taliban conducted a dual suicide attack at Islamic International University in Islamabad. The Taliban have announced they are at war with the state so long as South Waziristan remains under military siege.
The Kamra Air Weapon Complex is one of three military industrial production facilities in the Wah Cantt, according to Global Security. The Pakistani Ordnance Factories, a collection of 14 factories that produce arms and ammunition for the Pakistani armed forces, and Heavy Industries Taxila are also contained within the Wah Cantt. More than 40,000 Pakistanis are employed at the factories.
Kamra is believed to be connected with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. The Pakistani Ordnance Factories are believed to store nuclear weapons at a “screwdriver level” – meaning the components are stored disassembled and can be assembled within hours of needed use.
The Taliban sparked concern in December 2007 when a suicide bomber targeted Pakistani Air Force personnel and their families outside the Kamra Air Force Base. It became clear that attacks were being directed at Pakistani nuclear installations. Three other bombings and suicide attacks occurred near bases housing nuclear weapons in 2007. In 2008, two Taliban suicide bombers killed 70 Pakistani employees when they detonated outside the gates of the Wah Cantt.
The Pakistani government and the military have issued multiple statements assuring the Pakistani people and the West that the country’s nuclear weapons are safeguarded and incapable of falling into the hands of terrorists. The US government has alternately voiced concerns over the safety of Pakistan’s nukes and expressed confidence in their safety.