Monday, December 20, 2010

NATO trucks attacked again in Pakistan

Pakistani "Militants" surrounded convoy before destroying trucks with rockets

(AKI) - By Syed Saleem Shahzad -A pro-Al-Qaeda group of militants in Pakistan's tribal region of Khyber Agency on Monday and carried out an attack by surrounding Nato oil tankers from all four sides before firing rockets into the convoy. The attack destroyed two of the vehicles and injured two people.

According to eye witnesses a group of militants hid themselves in the nearby mountains and provided the cover to the militants who confronted the security escort along with the Nato tankers. The action lasted for half an hour during which time the militants escaped.

The action was taken at a time when hundreds of Nato supply convoys travelled from Peshawar to the Jamrood district of Khyber Agency in order to cross the border into Afghanistan. The incident caused a panic in the area and the tanker drivers immediately tried to drive back to Peshawar. This situation caused a massive traffic jam on the road prompting the local administration closed down the Torkham border crossing.

Almost 75 percent of the NATO supplies for the land locked Afghanistan goes through Khyber Agency. Khyber Taliban and Al-Qaeda bases were few prior to 2007. The majority of the area belongs to Sufi Islam which does not subscribe to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda’s Salafi or Deobandi ideology.

In late 2007, Al-Qaeda began an initiative to create bases in the area, eventually transforming the tribal area into its most effective training centre , using it as a launch pad for actions throughout northwest Pakistan.The bulk of supplies and equipment required by foreign troops in Afghanistan is shipped through the Khyber region, although US troops increasingly use alternative routes through central Asia.

Pakistan shut its main northwestern border crossing to NATO supply vehicles on September 30 for 11 days after a cross-border NATO helicopter assault killed two Pakistani soldiers.

Scores of NATO supply vehicles were destroyed in gun and arson attacks while the crossing was shut, as Taliban militants stepped up efforts to disrupt the route in response to US drone strikes in Pakistan's tribal belt.

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