As the Pakistani military continues the slow push to regain control of the settled district of Swat, suicide bombers struck in two locations, one at a sensitive weapons facility near Islamabad. The most deadly attack occurred in Swat in the Northwest Frontier Province after a suicide bomber hit a police checkpoint near Matta, where the Pakistani Army just established a presence. Ten were killed, including two children and three police. But the attack at a Pakistani Air Force base in Kamra, while only injuring seven, has far more serious implications. The Kamra complex is a likely location for Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. The suicide bomber targeted a bus filled with 35 children of Pakistani Air Force officers. The driver, a conductor, and five children were wounded in the strike.Global Security notes the Pakistan Aeronautical Complex in Kamra is one of the Air Force sites likely associated with Pakistan nuclear weapons development.The Wah Cantonment Ordnance Complex consists of three nearby armament facilities in Wah (Pakistan Ordnance Factories – POF), Kamra (Air Weapon Complex – AWC), and Taxilia (Heavy Industries Taxila -HIT). One or more of these facilities is probably associated with the weaponization of Pakistan’s nuclear devices. According to some reports, the main storage and maintenance site of the Pakistani nuclear weapons, particularly the weapons at a ‘screwdriver level’, is located at the ‘ordnance complex’ in Wah. …The Air Weapon Complex at Kamra is devoted to air-to-surface munitions, among other activities, and would probably have at least some connection with the development of air-delivered nuclear weapons. … The Pakistan Aeronautical Complex (PAC) was almost certainly responsible for the modification of Pakistani aircraft, probably including F-16 fighters, to a configuration capable of delivering air-dropped nuclear weapons.
While Taliban and al Qaeda suicide bombers have targeted secure military facilities over the past year, it is unclear if the suicide attack was a target of opportunity or a demonstration of the groups’ capacity to penetrate security at sensitive locations.
Terrorist attacks on nuclear facilities–worldwide– is an ominous possibility. With all the political upheaval taking place in Pakistan, the government can’t afford to let its national security lapse. The fact that Bin Laden is still lurking between the Pakistan/Afghanistan border doesn’t help, either.