Gunmen torch NATO supply trucks in Pakistan: police
KARACHI, Pakistan (AFP) – Gunmen in southern Pakistan on Friday torched more than two dozen trucks and tankers carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan, police said.
Attacks on trucks carrying goods for US and NATO-led forces are routine. But Friday’s incident came a day after Pakistan blocked the convoys following the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers blamed on cross-border NATO fire.
“Around 20 attackers armed with rocket launchers and assault rifles attacked these trucks. They set ablaze 27 trucks parked there,” district police chief Abdul Hameed Khoso told AFP of the pre-dawn attack.
The incident took place in Shikarpur district of the southern province of Sindh and was confirmed by another top administrative official.
Officials said the main land route for NATO supplies remained blocked and no trucks were being allowed to enter Afghanistan for the second consecutive day Friday.
“Trucks carrying fuel and other goods for NATO are still not allowed to enter Afghanistan,” an administrative official at Torkham, the main border crossing in Pakistan’s Khyber district, told AFP by telephone.
A security official in the northwestern city of Peshawar also confirmed that convoys were suspended for second day and that they had not received fresh orders to restore the supplies for NATO.
NATO said aircraft had entered Pakistani airspace Thursday in self-defence and killed “several armed individuals” after the crews believed they had been fired at from the ground.
It was the fourth such strike this week by NATO helicopters pursuing militants into Pakistani territory in actions that have been condemned by the government.
Khyber is on the main NATO supply route through Pakistan into Afghanistan, where more than 152,000 US and NATO forces are fighting an intensifying Taliban insurgency.
The Pakistani government said it was investigating Thursday’s incident in the Kurram district of the northwestern tribal belt, which Washington has branded an Al-Qaeda headquarters and hub of militants fighting in Afghanistan.