The Islamic State group claims it could purchase a nuclear device from Pakistan and transport it to the United States through drug-smuggling channels. The group, also known as ISIS and ISIL, would transfer the nuclear weapon from Pakistan to Nigeria or Mexico, where it could be brought to South America and then up to the U.S., according to an op-ed allegedly written by kidnapped British photojournalist John Cantlie and published in Dabiq, the group's propaganda magazine.
The op-ed said that Boko Haram, the Nigerian jihadist group that announced its formal allegiance to ISIS in March, would make their efforts to transport a weapon to the U.S. much easier, reported Nigerian newspaper Premium Times. ISIS claims the Nigerian army is in a "virtual state of collapse" because of its war against Boko Haram.
While U.S. officials have dismissed the ability of the group to acquire or transport a nuclear weapon, Indian Minister of State Defense Rao Inderjit Singh said at the Shangri-La regional security conference in Singapore last weekend that "[w]ith the rise of ISIL in West Asia, one is afraid to an extent that perhaps they might get access to a nuclear arsenal from states like Pakistan," Bloomberg reported.
Cantlie describes how ISIL would hypothetically call on supporters in Pakistan to "purchase a nuclear device through weapons dealers with links to corrupt officials in the region," after which it would be "transported overland until it makes it to Libya" when "the mujahedeen move it south to Nigeria." It would then be moved to South America in the same method that "drug shipments bound for Europe pass through West Africa," according to Premium Times. After transporting the device through the "porous borders of South America" to Mexico, it would be "just a quick hop through a smuggling tunnel" to bring the nuclear bomb into America.
Since his abduction in 2012, Cantlie has appeared in multiple ISIS propaganda videos, including the series "Lend Me Your Ears."