Analysts say a more realistic scenario would involve militant sympathizers getting work as scientists at the facilities and passing information to extremists.

“It’s not thought likely that the Taliban are suddenly going to storm in and gain control of the nuclear facilities,” said Gareth Price, head of the Asia program at London think tank Chatham House. “There are enough command-and-control mechanisms in place to prevent that.”…

The components are stored in protected underground sites. The warheads themselves are electronically locked to ensure that they cannot be detonated even if they fall in terrorists’ hands, Gregory said.

The Pakistan military carefully screens and monitors the officers vested with protecting the warheads, drawing them almost exclusively from Punjabi officers who are considered to have fewer links to religious extremists or with the Pashtun area of Pakistan, where the Taliban garners much of its support.

No action or decision involving a nuclear weapon can be undertaken by fewer than two persons.