Tajikistan arrests man with 3 grams of plutonium
DUSHANBE: Tajik authorities have arrested a man with three grammes of factory-grade plutonium that he allegedly planned to sell to someone in Afghanistan or Pakistan, officials said on Monday.
“The arrested man confessed that he intended to sell the plutonium to citizens of Afghanistan or Pakistan for 21,000 dollars,” said Avaz Yuldashev, spokesman for the drug control agency in the Central Asian country.
Mr Yuldashev did not release the suspect’s name, but said he was a citizen of neighbouring Uzbekistan. Tajik special services suspected him of drug smuggling, but during a search found a capsule of factory-grade plutonium that was likely made either in Russia or Kazakhstan. Tajikistan is a main smuggling route for drugs destined for Western markets from Afghanistan, with which it shares a 1,340-kilometer border that is patrolled by thousands of Tajik and Russian troops. The economic disarray that followed the break up of the Soviet Union has sparked fears that downtrodden scientists would sell weapons of mass destruction to extremists. —AFP