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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

A.Q. Khan's Network

A.Q. Khan's network is reported to have played a significant role in North Korea's nuclear program, providing it with an alternative way of manufacturing nuclear fuel, after it agreed under the 1994 Agreed Framework to freeze its reactors and reprocessing facilities. In all, A.Q. Khan's network provided North Korea with both centrifuge designs and a small number of actual, complete centrifuges, in addition to a list of components needed to manufacture additional ones.

It is also in 1994 that then Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto traveled to North Korea reportedly at the request of the then-army chief of staff, Gen. Abudl Waheed. Buttho claimed that Pakistan paid for North Korean assistance, returning, at Khan's insistence and desire for nuclear-capable long range missiles, from a trip to Pyongyang with computer disks containing specifications for missiles. Somome sources are, however, reportedly claimed that lack of money on Pakistan's part made trading easier.

A few months later, A.Q. Khan made the first of what would be about 13 trips to North Korea, as part of a Pakistani delegation to Pyongyang, composed of both scientists and military officers. At that time Musharraf was Waheed's director general for military operations. While there, he is said to have helped N. Korea with the design and equipping of facilities focused on the enrichment of uranium in exchange for North Korean assistance in the area of missile technology. Khan confessed to helping North Korea with the knowledge and approval of senior military commanders, among which two army chiefs and Musharraff. Waheed was subsequently replaced in January 1996 by Gen. Karamat who secretely travelled to North Korea in December 1997.

Khan has claimed that Karamat was also aware of the terms of the barter deal between N. Korea and Pakistan, since Pakistan successfully test-fired a Ghauri missile in April 1998. Implicit are claims that Musharraf must have been aware of the Pakistani-North Korean agreement given that after becoming army chief of staff in October 1998, Musharraf also took over the Ghauri program.

In exchanged, North Korea is ordered for the delivery of P-1 centrifuge components between 1997-1999, with A.Q. Khan's network providing direct technical assistance between the years 1998-2000.

In 2000, Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence conducted a raid on an aircraft chartered by the Khan Lab and bound for North Korea. Up until then, it has been claimed, senior military commanders had been unaware of Khan's dealings with North Korea. The raid yielded no evidence, however, but Khan was reported to have been warned against enging in proliferating activities. As late as July 2002, Pakistani cargo planes were spotted by US Spy satellites in Pyongyang being loaded with missile parts. Musharraf claimed that these were picking up surface-to-air missiles Pakistan had purchased. One account has that Kahn not only transferred P-1 and P-2 centrifuges to North Korea, but also drawing, sketches and technical data as well as depleted uranium hexafluoride gas.

In April 2003, a cargo-ship containing a aluminum tubing was intercepted in the Suez Canal following German conclusion that it was headed for North Korea. The specifications of the tubes suggested that they were intended for use as outer casings for G-2(P-2) centrifuges, which A. Q. Khan had written about.

Following additional questionning, it has been reported that A.Q. Khan admitted to, during a 1999 visit to an undisclosed location about one hour our of Pyongyang, witnessing first hand what were described to be three plutonium nuclear devices produced by North Korea.

In mid-to-late August 2005, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for the first time confirmed, during an interview with the Japanese news agency Kyodo, that Abdul Qadeer Khan had transferred both centrifuges and centrifuge parts as well as their designs on to North Korea.

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Page last modified: 24-07-2011 04:38:38 ZULU