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Three dead in attack on NATO convoy

world Updated: Dec 20, 2008 12:41 IST

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Suspected Taliban militants in northwest Pakistan opened fire on an oil tanker used to supply fuel to foreign forces in Afghanistan, killing three people, local officials said on Saturday.

Two drivers and one assistant were killed in the incident late on Friday in the Khyber tribal district, located on the main supply route into Afghanistan, where NATO and US forces are battling a Taliban insurgency, the officials said.

Local administration official Rahat Gul blamed the attack the latest in a series of increasingly sophisticated strikes on NATO and US supply vehicles on Taliban militants. The empty tanker was burned in the incident.

On Saturday in the same tribal district, a bomb exploded near a NATO supply convoy but the blast did not cause any damage or casualties, a security official said.

"The bomb was meant to target the convoy, but luckily, no damage was done," the official said.

A woman was killed and her two children wounded earlier this week in a similar attack on a NATO convoy in the Khyber district.

Militants have staged spectacular attacks in recent weeks on NATO supply depots outside the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar, torching hundreds of vehicles and containers destined for foreign troops in Afghanistan.

The NATO and US-led forces in Afghanistan are hugely dependent on Pakistan for their supplies and equipment, as about 80 percent of the gear is transported through the neighbouring country.

Both forces have however downplayed the recent attacks, saying they have had no impact and insisting supply lines are secure.