Jeffrey LewisKhan Kept A Diary?

A side-note on that treasure trove of documents that AQ Khan gave Simon Henderson.

I keep recommending Henderson’s account of the documents in the Times as background, but allow me to make another recommendation — Henderson’s 1993 review of his involvement in the Pakistan nuclear issue in the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, followed by a lengthy interview with Khan.

It’s a goldmine, not least for how Khan chooses to handle direct questions about the nuclear weapons production that we now know was occurring at Kahuta.

The most interesting part, to me, is Henderson’s revelation that Khan kept a diary in English:

But Khan looks forward to being able to collaborate with me on a book. He admitted that he has kept a diary since 1976, when he returned from Europe to start enrichment work. It is written in English “so that my wife can read it when I am gone.” I put in a request for a copy.

Wow, I’d love to see a copy of that. Wonder if the ISI grabbed it when Khan went under house arrest or if there is a second copy floating about.


  1. bradley laing (History)

    let us supposed the diary contains a lead that would cause an arrest. Would any government let a mere reporter see it?

    I read somewhere that “the iron law of intelligence” is that the more important it is to know something, the harder it is to get reliable information about it.

    If the diary contains anything a police agency, or spy agency would like to know, I mean.

  2. Beta

    Considering how poor Pakistan was at that time, do you think Khan’s network was a semi-official attempt to finance the costly nuclear program while actual development was done by PAEC?

    The term “Islamic bomb” was coined by an Israeli intelligence officer (Dave Kimhi) as a propaganda device. Let’s suppose for a moment it was also the marketing slogan of Khan. He promised complete nuclear weapons to other countries without having the ability to deliver and when hard pressed by angry clients gave them junk equipment. A kind of con man at the service of his country’s national interest…

  3. M Ahmed (History)


    A Q Khan tried to set up a parallel nuclear weapons effort, but apparantely failed, as he claims to have carried out only one cold test of such a nuclear device, sometime in 1984.

    No one knows exactly when or where this test was conducted. PAEC, however, had already carried out the first cold test of a working nuclear device on March 11, 1983, at Kirana Hills, in central Punjab province.

    A second cold test was conducted shortly afterwards which was witnessed by Chairman, PAEC, Munir Ahmad Khan, General K M Arif, the then Vice Chief of Army Staff and Mr. Ghulam Ishaq Khan. PAEC carried out this cold test long before KRL was able to produce enough weapon-grade HEU for one device.

    PAEC also carried out 24 more cold tests till 1992 wherein 4-5 different nuclear weapon designs were successfully cold tested and then subsequetly hot tested at Chaghi and Kharan in 1998, where A Q Khan was invited as a guest, rather than a participant.

    Nor was he responsible for over 20 other nuclear fuel cycle projects being run in PAEC including those relating to uranium exploration, refining, conversion, metallurgy, fuel fabrication, plutonium production or reprocessing.

    Therefore, he could sell only what was under his control, i.e gas-centrifuges which was just one project at KRL.