Suspected militants raid NATO supply base

Suspected Taliban militants raided a NATO base in Pakistan, destroying supplies bound for troops serving in Afghanistan, police sources said. The raid was the fourth on NATO and US military depots outside Peshawar in the past week.


AFP - Suspected Taliban militants on Saturday attacked a NATO supply depot in northwest Pakistan, destroying 11 trucks and 13 containers bound for foreign troops in Afghanistan, police said.

The raid was the fourth on NATO and US military terminals outside the city of Peshawar in the past week alone, highlighting the vulnerability of the key supply route through Pakistan.

The attackers struck before dawn, setting the vehicles ablaze, local police officer Fida Mohammad told AFP, adding that firefighters had managed to salvage nearly 20 other vehicles.

The raid came despite an increase in security following two huge attacks last weekend in which hundreds of trucks were destroyed.

Paramilitary forces in vehicles fitted with guns and searchlights are now conducting regular patrols of the area and members of a special anti-terrorist squad have been deployed, police official Fazal Mahmood told AFP.

But the local officer, Mohammad, said it was difficult to protect the whole area around Peshawar, where 13 terminals used by the NATO and US-led forces are located.

"This time they came secretly, taking advantage of the darkness, without firing rockets or gunshots," he said.

Police say the militants slip into Peshawar from villages in the lawless tribal region of Khyber, which borders Afghanistan, and are well-organised.

Hundreds of NATO vehicles were destroyed last weekend in two well-planned attacks by militants armed with rocket launchers, hand grenades and other automatic weapons.

A third raid on Thursday night destroyed another dozen vehicles intended for US-led troops fighting the Taliban insurgency over the border in Afghanistan.

NATO and US-led forces in Afghanistan are hugely dependent on Pakistan for their supplies and equipment, around 80 percent of which are transported through the country.

However, both forces have downplayed the attacks, saying they have had no impact and insisting supply lines are secure.


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