ISLAMABAD: In a fresh assault on tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan, 29 vehicles were destroyed and two security personnel injured during an attack by suspected militants in Balochistan province in southwest Pakistan on Saturday, officials said.
About 30 armed men attacked the tankers with automatic weapons and rockets in Mithri area of Bolan district, nearly 200 km from provincial capital Quetta, early Saturday morning.
Two personnel of the Levies force were injured in the firing. The tankers were parked outside a roadside hotel at the time of the attack. Fire fighters were called in from nearby towns to extinguish the blaze.
Footage on television showed huge flames leaping from the tankers. Security forces cordoned off the area and launched a search for the attackers.
This was the fifth attack on NATO supply vehicles since the beginning of the month. No group claimed responsibility for today's attack, which occurred three days after militants torched 50 NATO tankers and containers in the north-western city of Nowshera.
There has been a sudden upsurge in attacks on NATO oil tankers in Pakistan. At least 25 tankers were burnt on October 4 near the federal capital Islamabad in an attack that claimed three lives. More than 20 NATO tankers were burnt near Shikarpur in Sindh on October 1.
Pakistani Taliban militants have launched attacks on NATO supply vehicles in Pakistan in the past week in retaliation for a new wave of US drone strikes targeting Taliban and Al Qaeda militants in the lawless tribal belt.
The Chaman supply route to Afghanistan is the only one currently open to NATO vehicles after Pakistani authorities closed the main supply route via the Torkham border crossing in the northwest after an air strike by NATO helicopters killed two Pakistani soldiers