Police in Nowshera district are investigating five cases in connection with the recent upsurge in attacks on NATO supply trucks.
Authorities responsible for carrying out the investigation suspect that NATO tanker drivers and transporters themselves could possibly have been involved in sabotage. Allegations that transporters themselves were involved in these attacks have been made earlier, but this is the first time that authorities are formally investigating such complaints.
Police in Nowshera said that two such cases were under investigation by the Pabbi police station, while three others were being investigated by the Azakhel police station. At least four people are in custody and an FIR has been registered against the owner and driver of a NATO tanker that had been attacked in the area.
A senior police official told The Express Tribune that circumstantial evidence raised their suspicions. In the majority of cases, drivers and cleaners escape from the scene soon after the attack rather than informing the police about the incident, the official said.
A tanker driver requesting anonymity also said such sabotage incidents take place. ‘Authorities allow only 30 to 40 tankers to cross into Afghanistan from the Takhta Baig checkpost and the others are made to return to Mianwali. If in the meanwhile their permits expire, they are stranded for a long time.’
Some of the drivers who are tired of this going back and forth may have sabotaged their own vehicles, although other people may have been involved, he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 27th, 2011.