Militants set fire to NATO fuel tankers in Pakistan Another reason to stop the insanity and bring our troops home.
ὤTṻnde΄ӂ 2010/10/01 18:35:58
Militants set fire to NATO fuel tankers in Pakistan
militants in Pakistan set fire to tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops
in Afghanistan on Friday, officials said, a day after three soldiers
were killed in a cross-border NATO air strike.
authorities, angered by repeated incursions by NATO helicopters over the
past week, have blocked a supply route for the troops in Afghanistan.
Senior local officials said "extremists" are believed to have carried
out the attack on the tankers in the southern town of Shikarpur early on
About 12 people, with their faces covered, opened fire
with small arms in the air to scare away the drivers and then torched
some 30 vehicles.
Three Pakistani soldiers were killed and three
wounded on Thursday in two cross-border strikes by NATO forces chasing
militants in Pakistan's northwestern Kurram region.
It was the
third cross-border incident in a week, the Pakistan military said. NATO
said the helicopters briefly crossed into Pakistan airspace after coming
under fire from people there.
Hours later, Pakistani authorities
halted tankers carrying supplies for the NATO forces passing through
the Khyber tribal region on the Afghan border.
Pakistan is a
crucial ally for the United States in its efforts to stabilize
Afghanistan, but analysts say border incursions and disruptions in NATO
supplies underline growing tensions in the relationship.
The United States has already stepped up missile strikes by its pilotless drone aircraft on militant targets inside Pakistan.
senior Pakistani intelligence official said border incursions were a
"red line" and could lead to a "total snapping of relations."
half of all cargo for NATO forces in Afghanistan travels through
Pakistan, most of it via two main border crossings: Chaman and Torkham.
third flows into Afghanistan through the northern distribution network
across Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Sensitive gear like ammunition,
weapons and critical equipment is flown in.
AP adds: The
Pakistani government shut the Torkham border in the northwest in
apparent protest at a NATO helicopter incursion that killed three of its
soldiers on the border. The events raised tensions between Pakistan and
the United States, which have a close but often troubled alliance in
the fight against militants.
The convoy of tankers attacked
Friday was likely headed to a second crossing in southwest Pakistan that
was not closed. It was not clear if the vehicles had been rerouted
because of the closure at Torkham.
Around 80 percent of the fuel,
spare parts, clothing and other non-lethal supplies for foreign forces
in landlocked Afghanistan travel through Pakistan after arriving in the
southern Arabian sea port of Karachi. The alliance has other supply
routes to Afghanistan, but the Pakistani ones are the cheapest and most
Islamist militants occasionally attack NATO supply
tankers in Pakistan, mostly in the northwest where their influence is
stronger. Thursday's strike was in Sindh province, far from the border,
and might be taken as a sign that the insurgents are expanding their
Around 10 gunmen attacked the vehicles when they were
parked at an ordinary truck stop on the edge of Shikarpur town shortly
after midnight. They forced the drivers and other people there to flee
before setting the fires, said police officer Abdul Hamid Khoso. No one
was wounded or killed.
The trucks were alight several hours after the attack, according to an Associated Press photographer at the scene.
officer, Nisar Ahmed, said the tankers had arrived in Shikarpur from
the southern port city of Karachi and were heading to Quetta, a major
city in the southwest. From there, the road leads to the Chaman border
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