AUTHORLangewiesche, William
TITLEThe Point of No Return
ISSUE NUMBER1 (January/February)
Web Access
Available online from The Atlantic Monthly

This is the second part of an in-depth article on Abdul Quadeer (A. Q.) Khan’s contribution to developing Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program and his role in fostering international nuclear proliferation. The author describes how the success of the nuclear weapons program led to Khan's idolization in Pakistan as a scientist and patriot. That fame and accompanying fortune allowed him to establish an international network to export nuclear wares and expertise to North Korea (DPRK), Iran, and Libya. The article states that an American journalist, Mark Hibbs, closely followed those activities. His reports raised questions concerning the United States' policies toward Pakistan. The reports indicate that the United States was aware of Khan’s peddling of nuclear wares to Iran and also of the likely involvement of the Pakistani army and government. The article shows the delicate balance that President Musharraf has maintained between condoning Khan’s work and cooperating with the U.S. in the war on terror. It also shows that networks like Khan’s are not rigid structures that can be easily dismantled but rather flexible, loosely structured connections that can be reconstituted with ease.

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