MILITANTS TORCH NATO VEHICLES, 8 KILLED
REZAUL H LASKAR
Islamabad, June 9: Heavily-armed militants today attacked military trucks carrying supplies to NATO and US forces in Afghanistan, killing at least eight people and torching up to 60 vehicles on the outskirts of Islamabad in the first such strike near the Pakistani capital, officials said.
The attack, according to the officials, was carried out by 10 to 12 militants when the vehicles were parked at the Tarnol depot.
“The militants opened fire at the vehicles and then set them ablaze. Up to 60 tankers and trucks, including several loaded with military vehicles, were reduced to a twisted mass of metal by a massive fire and several explosions,” they said.
Eight persons, including drivers, their helpers and local residents, were killed and eight others injured in the attack, officials added.
Pertinently, militants have earlier repeatedly targeted trucks and tankers ferrying supplies to Afghanistan in the volatile northwestern part of Pakistan but this was the first time that such vehicles were attacked near Islamabad.
It was also one of the worst attacks on NATO supply vehicles. No arrests were made in connection with the incident, officials said.
Witnesses and police said the attackers were traveling on six motorcycles and two pick-up trucks and escaped after the brazen assault.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack though similar assaults in the past have been blamed on the Pakistani Taliban.
Law enforcement agencies cordoned off the scene as bodies and the injured were taken to nearby hospitals.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident, sources said.
Rawalpindi and Islamabad are located on the road to the northwestern city of Peshawar that is the main route used by the supply vehicles. The bulk of supplies and equipment required by US-led foreign troops in Afghanistan are shipped through northwest Pakistan.
In the past, hundreds of trucks and tankers have been destroyed in attacks by the Taliban in Peshawar.
Meanwhile, at least 14 Taliban militants were killed today in clashes with security forces in northwest Pakistan’s restive Orakzai tribal region.
A group of militants attacked a security check post in Mashti Mela area of Orakzai, triggering a gun battle that left eight terrorists dead and two security personnel injured, they said.
Another six militants were killed in a separate clash with security forces in Orakzai tribal agency, the officials said.
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jun 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 9 Jun 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 10 Jun 2010 00:00:00 IST
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