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Pakistan Test Fires Nuclear-Capable Missile

19 February 2006 -- Pakistan's military says it has successfully test fired today a short-range surface-to-surface ballistic missile capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

A military statement identified the missile as the Pakistan-developed Hatf-2 Abdali, and said it is capable of hitting targets within a range of 200 kilometers.

Officials said neighboring nuclear-armed rival India had been given prior notification about the launch.

The test came Pakistani President General Pervez Musharraf was due today to open a visit to China, one of Pakistan's main weapons suppliers.

It also came as French President Jacques Chirac was opening a visit to India to discuss possible civilian nuclear technology cooperation between France and India.

(compiled from agency reports)

Copyright (c) 2006. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org

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