Armed men torched five oil tankers carrying fuel for Nato forces on Friday in Dasht tehsil of Mastung district.
Around 40 Nato oil tankers were parked near a fuel station close to a police check post on the National Highway, about 15 kilometres from Quetta, when a group of armed men on motorbikes opened indiscriminate fire on the tankers.
Five oil tankers caught fire as a result of the firing. Thick smoke rose from the destroyed oil tankers and quickly engulfed the area causing disruption to the flow of traffic for several hours. The armed men managed to flee from the scene after carrying out the attack. The oil tankers were completely gutted. However, no one was injured in the attack.
Heavy contingents of police and Balochistan Levies rushed to the scene soon after the incident and sealed off the area.
Levies tehsildar Javed Iqbal said the Levies personnel escorted the convoy near Dasht and asked police to provide security. “The incident took place due to the negligence on the part of police,” he alleged.
“The Afghanistan-bound oil tankers were parked near the fuel station last night. Police personnel did not give a formal security clearance to drivers which is why they didn’t resume their journey to Chaman,” said another Levies official Tawakal Ali said.
“Around 40 oil tankers were parked on the highway when the incident took place,” said Mohammad Sadiq, an eyewitness to the incident.
Fire tenders rushed to the scene from Quetta and managed to save some oil tankers by extinguishing the fire. A case has been registered against the unidentified men by Balochistan Levies and investigations are under way. No organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack as of yet.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 20th, 2011.