Pakistan says its nuclear assets are safe from terrorists

Taliban and al-Qaida terrorists cannot gain control of Pakistan's nuclear weapons because of the military's fail-safe security system and a political climate that precludes a takeover by religious extremists, a top official said Saturday. In a rare media briefing to dispel international concerns, the operational chief of the Muslim world's only atom bombs also revealed that Pakistan uses 10,000 soldiers to keep the weapons safe and has received up to $10 million in US assistance to enhance security. "There's no conceivable scenario, political or violent, in which Pakistan will fall to extremists of the al-Qaida or Taliban type," Khalid Kidwai, head of the Strategic Plans Division which handles Pakistan's nuclear arsenal, told foreign journalists. "Pakistan's nuclear weapons, fissile material and infrastructure are absolutely safe and secure."