Saturday, August 27, 2011

Taliban target 19 NATO oil tankers...

A scene from hell: Flames and black smoke fill the air as Taliban target 'sitting duck' NATO oil tankers yet again

A suspected U.S. missile strike killed four alleged insurgents on Monday


As black clouds of smoke billowed from the charred remains of at least 19 NATO tankers, and flames licked the dark sky near the Afghanistan border, agog locals observed the wreckage following an ambush.

Gunmen atop motorbikes opened fire yesterday on the narrow main highway at Kolpur village in Pakistan, 15 miles south of Quetta, the capital of the usually restive Baluchistan province.

The tankers, carrying tonnes of fuel, were heading through the southwestern Pakistan region en route to NATO forces in neighbouring Afghanistan when they were fired upon in an attack that has become all too familiar to coalition forces.

Black smoke blots out the sky as 19 tankers burn after the ambush in Pakistan, near to the Afghan border

Earlier this year and at the end of last year there was a spate of ambushes on NATO tankers which were difficult to defend against on the small, open tracks in the Peshawar hills near the Afghan border.

Much of the non-lethal supplies for the U.S.-led operation in Afghanistan are trucked through Pakistan after arriving by sea in the port city of Karachi, and are sitting duck targets.

Islamic militants and criminals often attack the slow-moving convoys, but the vast majority get through unscathed.

In one week last year some 127 Nato fuel tankers were blown up, and at least six drivers were killed.

On this occasion the gunmen fired at the tankers as they were waiting for a police escort on the main highway at Kolpur village, police said.

And violence continued yesterday in Karachi, the country's largest city, where gunmen killed four more people; at least 85 people have been killed in Karachi in the past week.

Dangerous: Gunmen on motorbikes allegedly attacked the NATO tankers, which were supposed to be carrying fuel to coalition troops

The city has a long history of violence, with much of the fighting blamed on gangs allegedly linked to political parties.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the city's most powerful political party, said it will observe a general strike today to protest against the violence and urged traders to shut down their businesses and transporters to take vehicles off the road.

Meanwhile, a suspected U.S. missile strike killed four alleged insurgents yesterday in a militant stronghold near the Afghan border.

The fire rages on and the flames lick the dark sky as locals watch on

Pakistani firefighters attempt to extinguish burning NATO supply oil tankers (left) as a man stands by a roadside as the smoke rises

Local residents collect fuel from a bullet-ridden NATO supply oil tanker following an attack by gunmen on the main highway at Kolpur villagePakistani intelligence officials said a pair of missiles hit a vehicle close to Mir Ali town in North Waziristan.

The area is home to militants from the Afghan and Pakistani Taliban and foreign Islamist fighters.
Pakistan's army has not launched an offensive in North Waziristan, meaning militants there have an effective safe haven.

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