Nato tankers burnt in Pakistan

2010-10-06 08:34

Quetta - One person was killed on Wednesday when at least 10 Nato oil tankers were set ablaze in the southwest Pakistan city of Quetta, senior police officials said - the fourth such attack in six days.

Unknown gunmen attacked the terminal where up to 40 tankers were parked, and opened fire, senior police official Hamid Shakeel told AFP.

"There are at least 10 tankers on fire. One person, apparently one of the staff members of the terminal, died as a result of gunfire," he said.

Another senior police official, Shah Nawaz, confirmed the incident in the city's western outskirts, and the casualty.

The main land route for Nato supplies crossing from Pakistan to Afghanistan was closed for a seventh consecutive day, after a cross-border Nato helicopter attack that officials blamed for the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers.

The alliance said it shot back in self-defence.

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has urged Pakistan to reopen the vital route "as soon as possible".

Previous attacks

Since the key route closed, local Taliban militants have claimed two raids in which nearly 60 trucks were torched, and vowed more attacks.

Three people were killed in one incident when about 20 Nato oil tankers were set ablaze by attackers armed with Molotov cocktails near Islamabad.

In a similar incident on Friday in the south, heavily armed gunmen set fire to more than two dozen trucks and tankers carrying fuel for the 152 000-strong foreign forces fighting the Taliban-led insurgency in Afghanistan.

Two Nato trucks were also torched by unknown assailants in the Qalat district of Baluchistan on Monday.

Ambushes of Nato convoys are not uncommon, but are normally concentrated in the militant strongholds of the northwest.

The Taliban said its attacks were to avenge US drone attacks and halt the Nato supply route through Pakistan.

The United States has massively increased its drone campaign in Pakistan's lawless northwest tribal region on the Afghan border, which it calls the global headquarters of al-Qaeda and is a hub of militants fighting in Afghanistan.