Home > Terrorism, World News > 15 dead in NATO tanker fire in Pakistan: officials

15 dead in NATO tanker fire in Pakistan: officials

A local resident walks past wreckage of a NATO supplies oil tanker (AFP)
PESHAWAR, Pakistan ā€” A bomb attack Saturday on a NATO fuel tanker
headed to Afghanistan sparked a huge fire that killed 15 people who had
rushed to collect petrol leaking from the bombed-out vehicle.
Those
killed in the attack near Landi Kotal town in the lawless northwestern
Pakistan tribal region of Khyber were all civilians, nine of them from
the same family, local administration official Shafeerullah Wazir told
AFP.
Earlier, 11 other NATO supply vehicles, “most of them oil
tankers” were destroyed at a terminal in nearby Torkham town, another
administration official, Iqbal Khattak, said, but there were no
casualties.
The vehicles caught fire after a remote-controlled
device was detonated under one of them around midnight, Khattak said,
adding that he believed the Torkham and Landi Kotal attcks were
coordinated.
On Friday the Taliban bombed a US consulate convoy in
Peshawar, killing one person and wounding 11 others in the first such
attack on Americans in Pakistan since Osama bin Laden’s death on May 2.
Wazir
said the tanker in the Landi Kotal attack caught fire after a small
bomb blast and villagers rushed to collect fuel leaking from the
wreckage when the blaze was put out.
“Suddenly the fire erupted
again and at least 15 people including five young boys who had been
collecting oil in their buckets were burnt to death,” he said.
Four people with severe burn injuries were receiving treatment in a local hospital, he said.
The dead included a nine-year-old child and other victims aged between 18 and 30, local official Nabi Khan told AFP.
They
were collecting petrol to be sold later in the open market where one
litre fetches around 100 rupees (about 1.2 dollars), he said.
Although supply lines were suspended for a few hours after the attacks “traffic is normal now,” Khattak said.
No
group immediately claimed responsibility for Saturday’s attacks but the
Taliban have admitted to carrying out similar actions in the past and
did so on Friday after the Peshawar bombing.
A US embassy
spokesman said two American government employees were slightly wounded
in the rush-hour attack in the volatile northwestern city, which runs
into the tribal belt that Washington has branded an Al-Qaeda
headquarters.
The Pakistani Taliban also threatened further
attacks against Western targets in telephone calls to AFP and indicated
that the blast was to avenge the killing of bin Laden by US Navy SEALs
in raid north of Islamabad almost three weeks ago.
The United
States leads a NATO force of around 130,000 foreign troops in
Afghanistan that is trying to put down a 10-year Taliban insurgency.
Pakistani logistical and military support is considered vital to the war
effort.
Most supplies and equipment required by foreign troops in Afghanistan are shipped through Pakistan.
Taliban
and Al-Qaeda-linked militants frequently launch attacks across
northwestern Pakistan and the lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border.
Under
US pressure to crack down on Islamist havens on the border, Pakistan
has in the past two years stepped up military operations against largely
homegrown militants in the tribal regions, but the discovery that bin
Laden had been hiding out in the garrison city of Abbottabad has raised
eyebrows.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Arabian Sea port
in Karachi late on Saturday for two-day protest called by Pakistani
opposition leader and former cricketer Imran Khan against US drone
strikes in the tribal belt.
“We’ll sit outside the port’s gate
from Saturday afternoon to Sunday evening continuously to block the
trucks carrying NATO supplies,” he said.
The local tanker association has announced it will join the sit-in protest.
Source: AFP
Categories: Terrorism, World News
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