Nukes aren’t something to keep around forever like a sealed can of .223 ammo. Truly, nukes need a clean lab, experienced technicians, and very special handling/maintenance.
Pakis are pretty clever people, but even there the population capable of maintaining nukes out in the field is miniscule...and the costs are very high.
Plus, detonating just one nuke will open most of SE Asia and the Middle East to a widespread nuclear retaliation.
Moreover, Pakistan fears India. India could take a nuke detonation and not even miss 5 million people out of its 1.1 Billion. India would then roll over Pakistan and the genocide/ethnic cleansing would be unparalleled.
In fact, Pakistan losing control of its nukes would likely cause an invasion from India that would conquer Pakistan and end the anarchy of the tribal border lands.
Faced with nuclear armed India as its neighbor, Pakistanis who hate Israel and the U.S. have a very different reality with which to contend.
So for practical, technical, tactical, and strategic reasons, Al qaeda is unlikely to detonate a nuke. Such a detonation would almost have to be state-sanctioned by Pakistan, North Korea, Russia, Iran, or China...none of which have the missile defenses required to stop the inevitable retaliation.
I would be incline to agree with you points and thought about them, but I am trying to figure out why the military would all of a sudden turn on the Taliban and invade areas it has been scared to go into over the last few years?
India has the most to lose from pakistani nukes. I look for them to do something first.
Obama will NEVER send a nuke anywhere. I doubt very seriously any other weenie Euro trash would send one either. India WOULD be the only one that might retaliate, but if the Taliban gets one, would they pick India or another target like Israel or the US to expend the new toy in? To get control of a nuke and spend it in India, I'm not sure there.
My biggest difference with your scenario is Obama won't pull the trigger and he has pretty much promised he won't. They get a mulligan with Obama. It's hard to talk about, but if NYC, Boston, LA, San Fran, were to get nuked, I'm betting we would retaliate conventionally and within weeks Pelosi and friends would be demanding he withdraw. Sort of a "BUBA BOMBS ASPRIN FACORY" scenario.