Sunday, 16 January 2011

{EOP}16 NATO Tankers torched

A fireman tries to extinguish burning fuel tankers as truck drivers watch after they were set ablaze near Dera Murad Jamali. PHOTO: REUTERS
QUETTA: Gunmen in Balochistan set ablaze 16 vehicles carrying fuel supplies for Nato troops in Afghanistan on Saturday, officials said.
The convoy was attacked before dawn outside the town of Dera Murad Jamali, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) southeast of Quetta, local administration chief Abdul Fatah Khajjak said.
“The attackers, riding in a car, opened fire on oil tankers parked at a petrol pump waiting for daybreak to resume their journey to Afghanistan,” Khajjak said.
Some 16 oil tankers caught fire, but two more parked a distance away were undamaged, he said. One of the fuel tanker staff was wounded by the gunfire.
The gunmen fled after the attack and no one had so far claimed responsibility, Khajjak said. A security official also confirmed the attack.
In October, gunmen torched 29 oil tankers also bound for Afghanistan in the remote Mitri area, 180 kilometres (112 miles) southeast of Quetta.
Nato tankers have been frequently attacked in Pakistan in the recent past. Scores of Nato supply vehicles have been destroyed in gun and arson attacks as militants have stepped up efforts to disrupt crucial supply routes. Pakistan shut its northwestern border crossing to Nato supply vehicles on September 30 for 11 days after a cross-border NATO helicopter assault killed two Pakistani soldiers.
The bulk of supplies and equipment required by foreign troops in Afghanistan is shipped through Pakistan, although US troops increasingly use alternative routes through central Asia.

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