Saturday, August 6, 2011

16 NATO tankers go up in flames

Pakistani firefighters attempt to extinguish a fire caused by a bombing that destroyed 16 NATO supply trucks on the outskirts of Peshawar on August 6, 2011

Source: Press TV

Sixteen NATO supply vehicles transporting fuel destined for US-led forces in Afghanistan have gone up in flames in a bomb attack in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

A total of 28 tankers were parked at a terminal on the outskirts of the provincial capital Peshawar when an explosion triggered a fire that engulfed 16 of the vehicles, AFP reported.

"We are trying to move away other oil tankers. We are not clear whether the bomb was planted in the terminal or with a tanker," police official Khurshid Khan said. "Sixteen tankers were completely destroyed."

He added that there were no reports of any casualties.

Mohammad Ijaz Khan, another senior police officer in Peshawar, said fire fighters were frantically trying to control the blaze. He said three explosions were heard before the fire swept through the parked tankers.

The police cordoned off the area after the incident and launched a search operation to track down the culprits.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan militants regularly attack NATO convoys in Pakistan.

The US military and NATO rely heavily on the Pakistani supply route into landlocked Afghanistan, more so now that Taliban attacks are increasing.

Supplies arrive by sea in the southern port city of Karachi, where security analysts believe most of the Afghan Taliban leadership is now hiding. From there, they must travel in long, exposed convoys through Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province in northwest Pakistan.

Militants in the rugged tribal area have carried out numerous attacks in recent months, torching hundreds of NATO vehicles and containers destined for foreign troops in Afghanistan.

In response, the Pakistani authorities have deployed large contingents of police and military forces on all major arteries in the area to curb the attacks.

Other routes, largely through Russia and the Central Asian states, have proved to be too costly, both politically and economically.

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