Seven killed in militant attack on NATO convoy in Pakistan
SANGJANI, Pakistan — Militants attacked dozens of trucks ferrying vehicles for Western troops in Afghanistan early yesterday near the Pakistani capital, a bold assault that killed seven people and illustrated the vulnerability of a crucial US supply line.
Militants and ordinary criminals have often attacked NATO and US supply convoys over the past two years, but yesterday’s strike was the first so close to the well-protected capital, something likely to cause particular unease.
Much of the fuel and supplies for Western troops in Afghanistan travels through Pakistan after arriving in the port city of Karachi.
An Associated Press photographer saw about 60 containers damaged at a truck depot on the main road leading to the border with Afghanistan, about 6 miles from Islamabad. Many carried military vehicles such as Humvees.
Charred shells of the trucks were jumbled together at the depot, and firefighters were dousing small blazes. The pungent smell of smoke gripped the air as officials surveyed the damage.
The US Embassy in Islamabad said about 30 trucks contracted to transport supplies for NATO were damaged in the attack in Tarnol and the matter was under investigation by Pakistani authorities.
A group of about 15 suspected militants first opened fire with automatic weapons and grenades before torching the trucks, police officer Kalim Imam said.
Police official Shah Nawaz said yesterday afternoon that seven people died. The victims’ identities were not known, but they were believed to be Pakistanis employed as drivers or assistants. Seven people were also wounded.