Continued attacks on oil tankers in Pakistan

Daily Times Pakistan – 2010-10-07


* 22 tankers torched in Quetta, one killed 

* 35 tankers burnt in Nowshera attack 

* Balochistan IGP says police can’t provide security to supplies with limited means

QUETTA/LAHORE: Twenty two oil tankers carrying fuel supplies for ISAF in Afghanistan were attacked and destroyed in a daring raid in the early hours of Wednesday on the outskirts of Quetta. Meanwhile, unidentified assailants attacked a convoy of NATO oil tankers on the GT Road near Nowshera, setting 35 of the tankers ablaze, a private TV channel reported,

The incident in Quetta – the sixth of such on convoys taking supplies to Afghanistan since Pakistan closed a key border crossing almost a week ago – took place at Akhtarabad on the outskirts of the city. The driver of one of the trucks was killed in indiscriminate shooting by the assailants, while firefighters took over six hours to put out the fire as they faced “shortage of chemicals” in doing so.

Witnesses confirmed that armed men in two vehicles and motorbikes attacked the roadside terminal at dawn and opened indiscriminate fire to scare away people. They also fired two rockets on an oil tanker parked inside. Consequently, eight tankers caught fire, which later engulfed, and significantly damaged, at least 22 oil tankers, while 12 were destroyed completely. 

Drivers managed to take out at least 25 oil tankers from the inferno and saved them from any damage, witnesses confirmed. The body of the deceased driver was taken to the Bolan Medical College Teaching Hospital. He belonged to FATA. 

The drivers said that the tankers had been parked at the terminal for three days. “The assailants also chanted religious slogans while attacking the oil tankers.” They gave the impression that they were jihadis and fighting a holy war against Americans, they added.

Talking to reporters, Provincial Police Officer Malik Muhammad Iqbal said it was impossible for police to provide security to NATO suppliers with such limited resources. “NATO did not ask police for security and security arrangements for suppliers are made by a private company,” he added. He said that the contractors were getting millions of rupees from NATO forces and it was their duty to provide security cover.

He candidly stated that it was not police’s responsibility to provide security to NATO oil tankers in Balochistan. He said that the drivers had parked the oil tankers at the terminal and did not even inform the police. “We will also include drivers in the investigation,” he added.

“NATO should formalise an agreement with the provincial government for security of its supply convoys,” Iqbal told reporters. Separately, the Nowshera DPO confirmed the incident near the Khairabad area of Nowshera, saying that at least four containers had been completely destroyed due to the fire. staff report/daily times monitor

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