Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education

Front Page



UK Politics







Talking Point

In Depth

On Air

Low Graphics

Tuesday, May 11, 1999 Published at 01:31 GMT 02:31 UK

World: Europe

Inside Nato's bunker

Decisions are made 100ft below ground in a nuclear bunker

By BBC Europe Correspondent David Shukman

Eight floors underground, in a Ministry of Defence nuclear bunker, Britain chooses the targets Nato can attack.

Brits in Balkans
The bunker lies 100ft below street level in Whitehall, London. Meetings are dominated by the crisis in Kosovo.

The men who run the UK's armed forces descend into the cramped and secret corridors every day, as they have done since the start of the Nato campaign.

The BBC's David Shukman: "I was allowed into the bunker where the msot sensitive plans are laid"
Every day the intelligence on potential targets is reviewed around the meeting table.

But the air campaign is not working as quickly as they had hoped it would. The disaster of the attack on the Chinese embassy makes the situation worse.

[ image: George Robertson arrives at the latest meeting]
George Robertson arrives at the latest meeting
The fact that it went so wrong and led to the bombing of a neutral embassy is a source of extreme concern.

This is ultimately a political campaign, and blunders count, as Britain's diplomats in China have found out, following violent protests in Beijing.

Sources at the headquarters running British forces in the Balkans say the targets are pinpointed with great care. The view in the war room at Northwood, Middlesex, is that Nato's record in the campaign has been good.

[ image: The entrance to the bunker is closely guarded]
The entrance to the bunker is closely guarded
But any decision to adjust the military campaign would be taken back in London, deep below the Ministry of Defence.

Winning in Kosovo takes more than the brute force of missiles and this reinforced concrete, however. It is also a question of Nato not making mistakes.

But as the bombing intensifies, so do the risks, and the people in charge know it.

Advanced options | Search tips

Back to top | BBC News Home | BBC Homepage |

Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia

In this section

Violence greets Clinton visit

Russian forces pound Grozny

EU fraud: a billion dollar bill

Next steps for peace

Cardinal may face loan-shark charges

From Business
Vodafone takeover battle heats up

Trans-Turkish pipeline deal signed

French party seeks new leader

Jube tube debut

Athens riots for Clinton visit

UN envoy discusses Chechnya in Moscow

Solana new Western European Union chief

Moldova's PM-designate withdraws

Chechen government welcomes summit

In pictures: Clinton's violent welcome

Georgia protests over Russian 'attack'

UN chief: No Chechen 'catastrophe'

New arms control treaty for Europe

From Business
Mannesmann fights back

EU fraud -- a billion-dollar bill

New moves in Spain's terror scandal

EU allows labelling of British beef

UN seeks more security in Chechnya

Athens riots for Clinton visit

Russia's media war over Chechnya

Homeless suffer as quake toll rises

Analysis: East-West relations must shift