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How terrorist actors in Pakistan use nuclear weapons for political influence


This article expands on the current research on nuclear terrorism by investigating how terrorist actors seek to capitalize on the nuclear weapons discourse in a country to gain domestic political influence. Existing research on nuclear terrorism has focused on operational aspects – attacks using nuclear materials and weapons, or attacks on nuclear facilities. This article focuses on the rhetorical use of nuclear weapons issues using the case of Pakistan, which has a substantial nuclear weapons complex, widespread domestic support for nuclear weapons, and numerous jihadist terrorist groups. It argues that some terrorist groups (Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Pakistani Taliban) are increasingly participating in the nuclear discourse for political influence and to transform themselves as mainstream political actors. They portray themselves as the champions of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons against perceived threats from external actors, especially the United States, and aim to push Pakistani nuclear policy toward an Islamist and jihadist ideological framework.

Publication Information

Full Citation:

Joshi, Sharad. 2019. "How terrorist actors in Pakistan use nuclear weapons for political influence." Asian Security (March). https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/14799855.2019.1582522

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