Since its founding in 1947, Pakistan has fought four inconclusive wars with India, and it continues to station troops on the barren Siachen Glacier just to keep India from claiming it. The area has always been uninhabited, and it’s the second largest glacier in the world outside of a polar region.
Pakistani and Indian troops have had a number of skirmishes on the barren chunk of ice over the years, and it is sometimes described as the world’s highest battlefield. Mother Nature herself seems to have grown tired of the monotony, and early Saturday a massive avalanche covered one of the Pakistani camps. At this time, at least 135 people are assumed lost.
Pakistan and India both spend millions a year supplying the troops in this godforsaken wasteland, and India had planned to shut down the costly operations when Pakistan launched the Kargil War in 1999. In that conflict, Pakistan’s crack troops ran across the border, occupied a number of positions, and I kid you not, their presence was only discovered when a local shepherd reported it to the Indian army.
India then launched a counterattack with aircraft, Pakistani troops threw rocks at the big metal birds they thought were trying to eat them, and everybody eventually went back to where they were when the conflict started.
Pakistan would be considered the Keystone Cops of the military world were it not for one thing. China helped them build nuclear weapons, and The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists estimates Pakistan has 70 to 90 atomic warheads.
You’re probably wondering how a country that gets outsmarted by the snow and cannot even control large sections of its own territory can secure such a large nuclear stockpile, and here’s your answer. It can’t. If a nuclear weapon is set off by terrorists in the next ten years, chances are its “assembled in Pakistan” label will be one of the first things to get vaporized.