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TALIBAN TANKER BOMBERS; 27 Nato fuel trucks ambushed.


A NATO fuel depot erupts into an inferno yesterday after a Taliban attack left 27 tankers ablaze.

Armed gunmen stormed the compound in Pakistan, opening fire and hurling Molotov cocktails at the trucks - waiting to ferry fuel to Nato forces in neighbouring Afghanistan.

Three people were killed and nine wounded as a firefight broke out with security men. The gang is thought to have escaped.

Police official Umar Farooq said: "Between 10 and 12 men armed with automatic weapons stormed the depot from two sides. They opened indiscriminate fire on the tankers, many of which ignited on the impact of the bullets."

Local police chief Omar Hayat added: "Some people threw Molotov cocktails at the tankers. The security guards retaliated and the gunfire continued for some time."

The tankers were among more than 200 supply lorries stranded in Pakistan because the country has shut the Torkham border crossing into Afghanistan amid a friendly fire row.

Pakistan stopped the alliance's supply vehicles using the crossing after a Nato air strike last week killed three of the it's soldiers. The tanker attack near capital Islamabad in the early hours of yesterday was the second time in three days a Nato convoy has been ambushed.

Last Friday Taliban gunmen torched at least 27 lorries carrying supplies for Nato troops in the southern province of Sindh.

Pakistan police said supply vehicles remained "very vulnerable" to insurgent gangs and argued it was impossible to provide constant protection.

The Taliban said it was taking revenge because its fighters were coming under increased fire from US unmanned drones. And it vowed there would be no let-up in attacks on the supply chain.

Spokesman Azam Tariq said: "We accept responsibility for the attacks on the Nato supply trucks and tankers, both in Sindh and in Islamabad.

of attack "We will carry out more attacks in future. We will not allow the use of Pakistani soil as a supply route for Nato troops. This is also to avenge drone attacks."

The Pakistani troops were killed by friendly fire when Nato helicopters strayed across the Pakistan border as they chased Taliban insurgents.

Pakistan President Ali Asif Zardari called the blunder "unacceptable".

Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen met Pakistan's Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi in Brussels yesterday and said afterwards: "I expressed condolences to the families. Obviously this incident was unintended."


WHEELS ON FIRE Charred convoy trucks
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Oct 5, 2010
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