British ex-Defense Minister, Lord Gilbert, has threatened militants in Afghanistan and Pakistan with a neutron bomb. The UK could create “cordons sanitaire along various borders where people are causing trouble”, he said.
“Your Lordships may say that this is impractical, but nobody lives up in the mountains on the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan except for a few goats and a handful of people herding them,” Lord Gilbert said unveiling his plan to the House of Lords.
“If you told them that some ERRB warheads were going to be dropped there and that it would be a very unpleasant place to go, they would not go there,” he added. “You would greatly reduce your problem of protecting those borders from infiltration from one side or another.”
The remarks came in the midst of a Thursday debate over eliminating nukes across the world. Enhanced Radiation Reduced Blast (ERRB) warheads, or as simply put neutron bombs are a type of a weapon that kill people while leaving buildings intact.
Lord Gilbert said he did not fancy a nuclear-free world.
“I am absolutely delighted that nuclear weapons were invented when they were and I am delighted that, with our help, it was the Americans who invented them,” he observed.
Gilbert was roundly criticized for his comment by fellow parliament members. Responding for the government Lord Wallace said the coalition did not share the “rumbustious views” of Gilbert.
John William Gilbert, or Baron Gilbert, twice gained the seat of the defense minister, first in the Labor government of James Callaghan and then in the Tony Blair’s first PM term. Gilbert also was a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee while he was an MP.
Pakistan and Afghanistan are believed to host many training camps affiliated with al-Qaeda, Taliban, Haqqani and other terror groups. The US has carried out hundreds of drone attacks in Pakistan targeting militants since 2004. The attacks taking lives of around 2,000 people have resulted in deaths of many civilians and a considerable cooling down in Washington-Islamabad relations.
The UK has also around 9,500 troops in Afghanistan as a part of the NATO mission there, according to the ISAF official website. Britain was one of the countries behind the US-lead Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in 2001. The ISAF is planning to hand over power to the Afghan government and pull out by mid-2013