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Abdul Qadeer Khan

Abdul Qadeer Khan was born in 1936 in Bhopal, India. At the age of 11, Khan's family emigrated from India to Pakistan where he studied at the D.J. School of Science in Karachi. He continued to Karachi University to earn a B.S. in Metallurgy and eventually make his way to the Technical University of Berlin to study metallurgical engineering. To finish his education, Khan gained a doctorate in metallurgical engineering at the Technical University of Berlin, writing his thesis on uranium metallurgy and in fluent German.

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Alsos Digital Library for Nuclear Issues

In the early 1970's, A.Q. Khan enjoyed a distinguished career as a senior scientist at the Amsterdam Physical Dynamics Research Lab. There, he obtained a vast array of knowledge concerning uranium hexaflouride and gas centrifuge technology.

After India's nuclear test in May of 1974, Khan felt compelled to help neighboring Pakistan against their now-nuclear southern neighbor. After some initial political maneuvering and working up in the ranks, Khan was in charge of his own uranium enrichment program at the Engineering Research Laboratories. Khan then established an administrative proliferation network through Dubai to smuggle necessary components for building a nuclear weapon to Pakistan.

In competition with a team developing a Plutonium weapon, Khan successfully detonated a uranium bomb on May 28, 1988. Since then, Khan has beencharged with further proliferation to Libya, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea. The Pakistani government, under intense international pressure, investigated Khan's involvement and eventually dismissed the case. Later, after confessing to proliferation, the Pakistani government pardoned Khan for his actions and continued to revere him as a national hero. He travels freely within Pakistan today.