Attacks on supply trucks: Pakistani officials put blame on NATO

Officials say the alliance turned down Pakistan’s plan for ensuring safe transportation of supplies to Afghanistan.

Qaiser Butt January 17, 2011

ISLAMABAD: As the frequency of attacks on Nato supply trucks grows, Pakistani officials blame the alliance for rejecting a security plan that Islamabad unveiled to Western states last year, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The disclosure came as gunmen set ablaze two more oil tankers in the Surab area of Kalat district, in Balochistan, on Sunday. A day earlier 16 tankers, carrying oil supplies for Nato forces in Afghanistan, were torched by gunmen in Naseerabad district.

“The poor security arrangements put in place by Nato authorities have made supply vehicles vulnerable to Taliban attacks. Now there are frequent attacks on Nato supply vehicles travelling from Karachi to the Afghan province of Kandahar,” a top official told The Express Tribune requesting anonymity.

He said the Pakistan government had offered a comprehensive plan to Nato for safe transportation of military hardware and other supplies from the Karachi port  to Afghanistan.

According to the plan, the Balochistan government will be responsible for the safety of Nato supplies to the Chaman border – a journey through 12 districts of the province. For this, Nato will be required to provide four vehicles and monthly salaries of 16 security guards.

The plan was unveiled to Nato officials in a meeting in Islamabad last year where Balochistan government officials were also present. British diplomats agreed to the plan but Nato officials rejected it without citing any reason.

“Nato has hired private security firms for the protection of its shipments. But it has been observed that the private guards flee whenever the convoys they are protecting are attacked by the Taliban or miscreants,” a top official in the Balochistan government told The Express Tribune.

The official precluded the involvement of the Afghan Taliban in Saturday’s attack on Nato lorries in Naseerabad. “Presence of the Afghan Taliban in Balochistan is out of question,” he added.

However, he hinted that the Baloch insurgent groups could be involved in such attacks. “The involvement of the outlawed Balochistan Liberation Army (BLA) cannot be ruled out,” he said. Nonetheless, he said it was premature to put the blame on anybody without proper investigation.

The official also pointed to another possible angle to the issue. “Some time drivers of Nato tankers sell out oil to another party and engineer attacks on their empty vehicles,” he said. “They get compensation for their trucks as those are already insured,” he said.

To substantiate his claim, the official said that Nato trucks were always attacked only when they were parked at some roadside restaurant or at filling stations. “Strangely enough, drivers and cleaners of these vehicles always survive the attacks,” he said.

The official said that police have arrested some drivers for their involvement in such engineered attacks. And in some cases the involvement of drivers was established.

He also suspected that some Nato officials were also complacent in the racket. However, no Nato official was available to comment on this allegation.

The Balochistan government is tired of these attacks. “We are sick of these incidents because we have to pay Rs400,000 as compensation for any civilian death in these Rs100,000 for every injured,” the official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 17th, 2011.


patriot | 10 years ago | Reply Pakistani civil service is a cancer that will kill its host !
J.Oberoi | 10 years ago | Reply What a way to run a country! Making money out of running errands for the master. Where are the people who built Pakistan from zero to a viable nation until 1970? They would be squirming in their graves.
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