The most likely location for a nuclear attack?

I’d have to say Pathankot, India. It’s in the extreme north of Punjab, and appears to be the crucial canal, road and rail bottleneck which connects Kashmir to the rest of India. The airbase also has a 10,000 foot runway, which was put to good use against the Pakistanis in the 1971 war.

If and when Pakistan thinks they can get away with snagging Kashmir, Pathankot must be “neutralized.” If on the other hand India actually tries to make a move against Islamabad, the best way to logistically isolate Indian forces attacking from Kashmir is, again, to neutralize Pathankot.

You could try to capture and hold the area, but then your forces are dangerously exposed. It’s much cheaper and easier to deny India the use of the area, which appears to have a population of around 150,000, and the cheapest way to do that is with nukes, if you can deliver them. Pathankot is less than 100 kilometers from the Pakistani border, well within range of some missiles and conventional aircraft.

Since Pakistan has only a handful of comparatively low yield atomic bombs, the city would probably be the recipient of more than one, because the airport and the road, rail, and canal links would probably have to be targeted separately.

Since neither India nor Pakistan possesses a nuclear arsenal large enough to ensure the total destruction of the other, I would argue that there is actually an incentive to use nukes early in any major conflict between the two countries. And if that happens, the first places to go are going to be the strategic points through which the enemy must move in order to attack you. Pathankot must be very, very high on the list of targets.

Since India is ahead of Pakistan both in nukes and delivery systems, and probably in quantity too, I would think there would be a strong temptation on India’s part to strike first and fast in an attempt to destroy Pakistans’ entire nuclear capability. They’d have a decent chance of succeeding too.


Moscow is an interesting prospect because of Chechnya. Someone strapping on a bomb (or driving a vehicle carrying one) doesn’t really care what the bomb consists of since they will be dead anyway. The bigger the better.

If you were referring to the US then I would consider a large city in a border state with Canada or Mexico. Seattle has been targeted before so that would be logical. Al Queda’s MO has been one of single mindedness (they failed with the WTC 10 years ago). LA would be my next guess. It would be an easy trip through South America and there is a ready-made conduit at the border with people who transport illegal aliens.

The French have a cultural identity crisis on their hands that will get worse over time. Combine this with a previous plan to drive A/C into the Eiffel Tower and Paris becomes a good choice.

India has suffered a direct attack on their political system so the close proximity of New Delhi to Pakistan makes it a potential border-crossing target.


The next nuclear attack would almost certainly be government-sponsored. The nations in this region have a long history of irrational behavior.

The real horror is once the nuclear threshold is lowered, the next blast becomes more and more likely.


I don’t think the original question is answerable (where would the next nuclear attack be), because there’s too much sh-t going on in the world to predict. However, I don’t believe the next catastrophic attack will be nuclear; chemical and biological weapons are so much easier to get and work with. A “well done” smallpox dispersal in a major city would be just as effective as a small nuke (maybe even a big nuke) when you take panic into account as well.

good morning friends,

the threat has changed with the fall of the soviet union. startegic air command headquarters in bellevue nebraska is about fifteen minutes from where i am typing this.

i used to have a sweatshirt that said on the front: welcome to bellevue nebraska. ground zero, usa

on the back it said: first and foremost in the hearts and minds of the soviet defense department.

in the late fifties and early sixties, we had “duck and cover” drills. the school bell would simulate the air raid siren, and we would duck under our desks and pray the rosary to ward off the nuclear attack that would probably hit ten miles away.

I’d be willing to bet Taiwan would be the first to use nukes in a cross straits nightmare scenario.

I think it’s more likely that NorKor nukes somebody. S Kor, Japan, China, take your pick.

India and Pakistan scare me a lot because they are so close

Pakistan rises to the top again with the 2nd assassination attempt of Pervez Musharraf. Radical religious groups could overtake the government and then there would be instant access to nuclear weapons.

Actually, there is plenty of speculation hereabouts that the assassination attempts were stage-managed by Musharraf himself. Possibly as a signal to India and the US that he, Musharraf, is the best bet for Pakistan.

Another theory is that the assassination was odered by his own military personnel, who might be getting pissed at the turn-around in Pakistani policy wrt Afghanistan, and his peace moves towards India.



Radicals within the Pakistain establishment, with control over its nuclear weapons, is scary.

Assassination rarely brings about true regime change though. All it does is allow the person next in line to take over, usually someone ideologically similar. So even if Musharaff is nailed, there is little chance of a substantive change in Pakistani policies.

No offense Longhair75, but as a resident of the militarily packed state of VA I take exception that. :slight_smile:

Between the Pentagon in the north, Langley AFB, Norfolk Naval Base (CINCLANTFLT, CINCSUBLANT, CINCAIRLANT), Little Creek Amphibious Base, Oceana Naval Air Station, The Greenbriar command and control facility and various other bases and facilities pretty much all of VA was guaranteed to be a radioactive blob on the first strike. :slight_smile:

You wanna read some scary bedtime stuff?

Projected US Casualties and Destruction of US Medical Services by Attacks from Russian Nuclear Forces.

52 to 100 Million dead.


India has a declared no-first-use policy regarding her nuclear weapons. Furthermore, India and Pakistan have signed a pact whereby they agreed not to target each other’s nuclear facilities in times of war.

Just wanted to clear that up.

Yep, perfectly clear…But, how would one go about enforcing a pact with a country you are at war with? Threaten to war harder?

Back to the OP. I’d bet the most likely location of a nuclear attack would be wherever the terrorist is preparing the bomb. While some terrorists are pretty cunning, most aren’t the brightest bulbs in the pack. You always hear about someone blowing themselves up as they are putting their explosives together. I can picture some terrorist with a hammer and chisel trying to bash open the access hatch of a nuclear bomb because he doesn’t have the proper hex wrench in his tool kit to open it properly.

Most likely I’d go with New York, if only because the number of Jews there makes it twice as attractive to certain nutjobs. Most sensible, I’d go with La Palma, one of the Canary Islands. It’d just be too easy to get the nuke there.

See why.

Of course, it’s not guaranteed. But if successful can you imagine the pay-off from even a small nuke? Of course, there’d be a lot of involuntary martyrs in Morocco, but that’s not stopped them before.

That would be my prediction as well. Or, possibly, Houston, TX. A lot of tankers from the Middle East go to Houston, and slipping a nuke onto one might be hard, but it wouldn’t be impossible.

Cute, but not likely. Nukes are very hard to set off properly. Why do you think we did so much research (and are still doing computer sims. of nuke detonations)? Uranium doesn’t go off like nitroglycerin does.

It’s really kinda hard to pick a better target for al Quaeda to hit again than the Big Apple. However, there is the “been there, done that” aspect. Chances are, the kind of bomb these guys could get into the US and successfully detonate would cause about the same number of deaths if it were placed in any major American city, since a single bomb could only destroy a portion of the city. Simply go for the region of highest population density in any big town and light the fuse.

I tend to think, though, that if al Quaeda came to posess a bomb, it might be the only one they could ever expect to get their hands on. It would be their most precious and valuable posession. Merely causing economic mayhem and killing a large number of people could be accomplished in any number of cities. Only New York had the nations tallest buildings. Beyond that, it’s distinguished primarily by its size. Meanwhile, Washington DC is the heart of our democracy. Pick a day when congress is in session and the Prez. is in town, and you’ve killed off, potentially, all the heads of every branch of our Federal Govt., and incinerated the headquarters of our military. You might not kill as many people, but what people!

But maybe DC is too hard. Too obvious, and hence too well guarded. One might go for something symbolic, and also manage to kill off a boatload of folks while your at it. My next nominee would then be Philidelphia, the birthplace of the Nation, and a major East Coast metropolis. The City of Brotherly Love. It adds insult to injury that bombing, say, Chicago, just wouldn’t get you. Hell, a lot of people wish LA would fall in the ocean as it is, so, again, what’s a more attractive target if you really wanna hit the Americans where they live, after NY and DC?

Yes, banging on a nuke with a hammer is not likely to make it go off. But what would happen if you had to replace the electronics with a home-made version because you don’t have the arming codes for the originals? Terrorists don’t have the years of research of which you speak to fall back upon, nor the quality components, nor are likely to build in the fail safes that the original electronics had in them.

Musharaff took office by force. IMO, Pakistan is a tightly wound collection of opposing forces and Musharaff doesn’t have control of his own borders.