Cablegate: Update: Nuclear Smuggling Incident at Kabul,
DE RUEHBUL #0297 0360855
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 050855Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY KABUL
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2675
UNCLAS KABUL 000297
STATE PASS FOR ISN/CTR AND PM/ISO/PMAT (24/7)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KNNP MNUC PARM KCRM PTER ASEC KCOR AF
SUBJECT: UPDATE: NUCLEAR SMUGGLING INCIDENT AT KABUL,
REF: KABUL 266
1.This to update the Department on Post's alert of February 2 regarding the report by the Afghan National Police Coordination Center (NPCC) of the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) seizure of two bottles of uranium. Following further inspection of the bottle, an NDS liaison officer updated the NPCC report as follows:
-- An NDS lab test determined the substance contained in the bottles to be gun cleaning solution;
-- Both bottles were labeled in Russian and contained visual poison warnings; and
-- The detained suspect, from whom the bottles were seized, claimed possession of the cleaning solution from the pre-Taliban era and hoped to sell the bottles.
2.Post finds the NDS determination to be credible and attributes the initial Afghan designation of the substance as uranium due to the Russian language label and poison markings. It is unclear whether the detained suspect was attempting to sell the bottles as uranium prior to the seizure.
3.Any questions on this issue can be directed to Michael Williams, Political-Military Affairs Officer, by e-mail (xxxxxxxxxxxx) or telephone (xxxxxxxxxxxx).