QUETTA: At least one man killed and over two dozen NATO containers were torched when unidentified miscreants attacked a NATO convoy at Western Bypass in the Quetta city on Wednesday.The attackers set more than two dozens tankers on blaze, which were on route to Chaman carrying supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan. Police said that a driver was killed in the incident.
It merits a mention that the Wednesday’s assault was the latest on supply convoys heading for Afghanistan since Pakistan shut a key border crossing to international forces last week. Police said that the attack occurred in the parking area of a roadside hotel on the outskirts of the city. The gunmen killed a member of staff and destroying at least 18 vehicles, police official Hamid Shakeel said.
The attacks have raised tensions already elevated by Pakistan’s decision to close the Torkham crossing in apparent reaction to alleged NATO helicopter strikes on its territory. One of those strikes killed three Pakistani soldiers.
However suspected Taliban gunmen Wednesday set fire to NATO oil tankers in Pakistan for the fourth time in a week in an attack the Islamic extremist group claimed as revenge for deadly US drone attacks. The militants opened fire on a depot housing 40 tankers on the outskirts of the southwestern city of Quetta, killing a member of staff and destroying at least 10 vehicles, police said.
Taliban militants claimed the Quetta attack and other raids this week in which nearly 60 trucks were torched and three people died. They vowed more attacks to disrupt NATO’s supply route through Pakistan and to avenge a new wave of US drone strikes targeting Taliban and Al-Qaeda militants linked to alleged terror plots against European cities.
“We claim responsibility for attacking and torching NATO tankers in Quetta today,” Tehreek-e-Taliban spokesman Azam Tariq told. “We will further intensify attacks with the intensification of US drone strikes on us.”
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. Pakistan authorities have reported 24 attacks since September 3 which have killed more than 140 people. Pakistan’s US envoy said Wednesday that the increase in drone strikes was linked to an alleged terror plot targeting Europe.
The Al-Qaeda plot conceived in Pakistan apparently targets Britain, France and Germany but planning for the attacks was at an early stage when intelligence agencies learned of them, according to intelligence and press reports.
Ambassador Hussein Haqqani told the BBC that the increase in strikes in North Waziristan came after intelligence agencies uncovered a plot to “attack multiple targets in Europe.” He also said that a drone strike on Monday in the district which killed eight militants, including five Germans, was linked to the plot.
“I think that the activity we see in North Waziristan in terms of strikes… is connected to the terrorist warnings that we have heard about potential strikes in Europe,” he said.
The United States does not as a rule confirm drone attacks, but its military and the Central Intelligence Agency operating in Afghanistan are the only forces that deploy the pilotless aircraft in the region.The latest tanker attack came as the main land route for NATO supplies crossing from Pakistan to Afghanistan remained closed for a seventh consecutive day.
Pakistan shut the route in protest at a cross-border NATO helicopter attack that officials blamed for the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers. The alliance has said it shot back in self-defence.-SANA