At least 12 tankers carrying oil for US-led Nato forces in Afghanistan have been destroyed in separate attacks by unknown men in Punjab and Khyber Agency on Monday, officials said.
Police said that gunmen riding on motorcycles opened fire on the supply trucks near Riazabad police checkpoint on Mianwali Road in the Muzaffargarh district of Punjab.
The gunshots caused one of the oil tankers to catch fire which soon engulfed four other tankers parked nearby. All five tankers were gutted.
District Police Officer Rao Munir Zia confirmed the incident and said that fire engines have been rushed to the site to put out the blaze. According to the latest report, firefighters were still battling the inferno.
In a separate incident, unidentified men planted a bomb on a Nato oil tanker in the Qasab Khana area on Torkham Road in the Landikotal sub-division of Khyber Agency, local officials said. The bomb exploded around Iftar triggering a fire on other oil tankers parked nearby. As a result, five Nato supply vehicles and a private car were destroyed.
Soon after the blast, the authorities closed the Pak-Afghan highway for traffic and rushed fire tenders to the site to douse the flames. Firefighters were busy extinguishing the conflagration till the filing of this report.
Separately, Bomb Disposal Squad officials, acting on a tip-off, defused a bomb planted on a Nato container in the Landikotal bypass area.
In another incident, gunmen opened indiscriminate fire on Nato supply vehicles parked near a state-run school in the Landikotal bypass area. Windowpanes of several vehicles were shattered in the incident. The assailants fled the scene after retaliatory fire from Khasadar force, a tribal police unit.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 16th, 2011.
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