Taliban conducted dry runs to attack Pak nuke site: report

Taliban conducted dry runs to attack Pak nuke site: report

Taliban based in Pakistan's Punjab province conducted dry runs to target a nuclear site in Dera Ghazi Khan where authorities have beefed up security,according to a media report today.

A faction of the banned Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) was identified as the "key culprit" for a possible attack on the facility, The Express Tribune quoted an intelligence report as saying.

However, report dispelled the notion that terrorists had completed their reconnaissance and succeeded in making a video of the installation in Dera Ghazi Khan.

Dera Ghazi Khan district police chief Chaudhry Saleem told PTI yesterday that security at several sensitive installations, including the nuclear facility, had been increased due to a reported threat from militants.

According to reports, large contingents of soldiers and police have been deployed at the facility, which comprises uranium milling and mining operations and a uranium hexaflouride conversion plant.

The Express Tribune reported most of the reconnaissance so far was carried out by a Punjabi Taliban group led by Asmatullah Moavia.

This group would be abetted by commanders Ghulam Rabbani and Qari Kamran for any possible attack.

The intelligence report revealed that terrorists had already rehearsed an attack by frequenting a planned route to the nuclear facility.

On the basis of this intelligence report, the National Crisis Management Cell and the
Interior Ministry issued a circular that was forwarded to all provincial law enforcement agencies.

Using a code word to refer to the nuclear installation in Dera Ghazi Khan, the circular called for close coordination between law enforcement agencies and directed authorities to put in place foolproof measures to thwart any terrorist attack.
Suicide bombers had been earmarked for the assault, the circular said.

District police chief Chaudhry Saleem confirmed the intelligence report and circulars issued by the federal and provincial governments.

Security of sensitive sites was beefed up after the attack on Kamra airbase on August 16 but on receiving the new alert, the security of the nuclear facility was further enhanced, he said.

About eight police pickets have been established around the nuclear site and an inner security cordon were created.