Militants torch 150 NATO trucks in Pakistan, kill guard

December 7th, 2008 - 11:32 pm ICT by IANS  

TalibanIslamabad, Dec 7 (DPA) Some 300 heavily-armed rebels attacked two parking bays in north-western Pakistan full of vehicles used by US and NATO contractors for making deliveries to Afghanistan, killing a guard and torching dozens of trucks, the police said Sunday.The attack took place in the early hours at Al-Faisal International and Port World Logistics terminals on the outskirts of Peshawar city, where the trucks are parked at night.

“Around at 3.10 a.m. (2210 GMT) more than 300 Taliban armed with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles surrounded the area where half a dozen terminals are located,” Sarmad Khan, a local police investigator, told DPA.

“They killed a guard named Salman and set fire to around 150 trucks and containers in two terminals.” he added. “Had the police not come and fought with them, they would have gone to other terminals and torched everything.”

Imran Qureshi, the manager of the Al-Faisal terminal, said the lorries were used to carry supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

“I think around two dozen armoured vehicles, Humvees, were also destroyed in the attacks,” Qureshi said. “We are planning to close down the business because the government is unable to provide us security.”

Pakistani authorities have asked hauling contractors to make the journey through the Khyber Pass, located 18 km from Peshawar, only during daytime and under security cover, since last month’s attack on a NATO supply caravan by Taliban.

Militants seized 12 trucks and abducted 26 crew members in that ambush, which halted supply delieveries for several days.

The 35-km mountain track passing through the lawless tribal region serves as a major supply route to land-locked Afghanistan.

But the latest attack took place in Peshawar before the truck caravan start its journey through the dangerous route.

Militants holed up in the volatile north-west have repeatedly threatened to cut the supply line if US forces in Afghanistan continue airstrikes on their hideouts with unmanned flying drones.

The move would greatly hamper the operations of international forces against Taliban in Afghanistan.

The attack on the Al-Faisal and World Port terminals was the second this week. On Monday, rebels killed two drivers and destroyed at least a dozen lorries loaded with NATO supplies in a pre-dawn attack.

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