Suspected Taliban militants planted a bomb in northwest Pakistan that destroyed six tankers supplying fuel to NATO troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, officials said on Friday.
Around 35 tankers were parked overnight at the Chamkani area, outside Peshawar, when militants placed a bomb under one of the vehicles loaded with diesel, petrol and aviation fuel, police official Asmatullah Khan told AFP.
The blast triggered a fire which spread to another five tankers, he said, adding that the blaze was only brought under control by Pakistan air force vehicles after local firefighters failed to tame the flames.
“They used a special chemical to extinguish the fire,” a security official said on condition of anonymity. The oil tankers, contracted to supply NATO forces, had been parked in an unauthorised area, the official said.
Militants have carried out a series of strikes against supplies for US and NATO-led foreign forces fighting against a Taliban insurgency in Afghanistan.
The bulk of supplies and equipment required by the foreign troops across the border are shipped through northwest Pakistan’s tribal region of Khyber.
US officials say northwest Pakistan has become a safe haven for Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who fled the 2001 US-led invasion of Afghanistan and have regrouped to launch attacks on foreign troops across the border.
Militants in the tribal area of North Waziristan beheaded a Pakistani man and shot dead an Afghan after accusing them of spying for US forces operating across the border in Afghanistan, local officer Muneer Khan told AFP.
Their bodies, dumped on the roadside, carried a note warning “this will be the fate of spies.”
Close to restive North Waziristan where Taliban militants are active, three people were wounded in a blast in the rural town of Havaid, police said.
The blast took place at a bunker dug by volunteer tribesmen fighting Taliban militants around 25 kilometres (16 miles) west of the garrison town of Bannu.
“We have received a report that there was a bomb blast at one of the bunkers of the local lashkar (volunteer tribal force) and three tribesmen were injured,” a local police official told AFP.
Extremist attacks in Pakistan, a key US ally, have killed more than 1,700 people across the country since government forces besieged gunmen holed up in a radical mosque in Islamabad in July 2007.