Pakistani fire fighters extinguish NATO trucks fire after 5 hours
Fire fighters have succeeded to extinguish the fire set on NATO supplies trucks by suspected militants at a terminal near the Pakistani capital of Islamabad on late Tuesday night, Xinhua reported.
Fire fighters were called from Islamabad and the garrison city of Rawalpindi to control the fire and they succeeded to control blaze after five-hour efforts, officials said.
Islamabad police chief Kalim Imam said that six people were killed while six others injured when a group of gunmen fired and then torched tankers and containers carrying supplies and oil for NATO forces in Afghanistan.
The attack took place in a parking lot at Tarnol area, some 50 kilometers southwest of Islamabad, at around 11:30 p.m. local time.
Doctors at the Islamabad's Institute of Medical Sciences said that eight bodies were brought to the hospital. They were drivers and helpers who died from burn injures. Six people were injured and two of them in critical condition, hospital sources said.
Police said that some 50 oil tankers and supplies trucks with armored vehicles and heavy machinery were attacked.
Suspected militants regularly launch attacks on NATO supplies tankers in Pakistan's northwest and southwest but it is the first time that supplies trucks came under attack near Islamabad.
Kalim Imam said that some 10 armed men, who came in vehicles and riding motorcycles, arrived at a terminal for NATO supplies trucks at Sangjani, a small town some 50 kilometers southwest to Islamabad, and opened fire and torched the vehicles.
Witnesses said that there were over 40 attackers, armed with rocket launchers, hand grenades and automatic guns.
The attackers fled after the incident, police said. A search operation was launched in the area shortly after the attack and 26 suspects were arrested, the police chief said.
No group claimed responsibility for the attack but Taliban militants had regularly taken responsibility for such attacks.
The attack in the outskirts of the capital raised concerns over the security situation and also highlighted the capability of the suspected militants to launch attacks despite high security.
Interior Minister Rehman Malik took serious note of the attack near Islamabad and ordered inquiry into the incident, the Interior Ministry said. He asked the police chief to submit a report within three days.
A senior police officer Hakim Khan was suspended for security lapse, police sources said.
Sources in the Interior Ministry say that NATO is responsible for the security of its vehicles, adding that the terminal was run by a private company.
Officials say that some 70 percent supplies are transported through Pakistan for over 100,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Sources say that oil and other supplies for NATO forces are brought to Sangjani from the port city of Karachi, which are dispatched to Afghanistan from there.
Pakistan had been a short route to transport oil and other supplies to NATO forces in Afghanistan under an agreement between the U.S. and Pakistan. But the route had never been completely secure as trucks are usually come under attack.
The U.S. has already struck agreements with Russia and some Central Asia states for alternate supply route but analysts say the Russian route is long.