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Nato supply trucks attacked in Pakistan

24 July 2012, 12:48

Peshar - Gunmen in restive northwest Pakistan on Tuesday attacked container trucks carrying supplies to Nato troops in Afghanistan, killing a driver, officials said.

It is the first such attack since Pakistan re-opened its border to Nato supply convoys three weeks ago after a seven-month blockade staged in protest at a botched US air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border post.

The Pakistani Taliban have threatened to attack Nato trucks and their drivers, and right-wing and extremist religious groups have held large demonstrations against the resumption of supply lines.

Tuesday's attack took place near the market in Jamrud town on the outskirts of Peshawar, the main city in the troubled northwest, local administration official Bakhtiar Khan said.

"Two armed men riding on a motorbike opened fire on a container carrying supplies for Nato troops across the border and killed its driver," Khan said, adding that the driver's helper was seriously wounded.

Another administration official said the truck was part of a convoy of three or four vehicles travelling without security protection when they came under attack.

Bullet to the head

A hospital official in Jamrud confirmed the casualties.

"The driver was shifted to our hospital in serious condition, he died later," doctor Azam Khan of the state-run Jamrud hospital said.

He received one bullet in the head and two in the chest, he added.

Pakistan on 3 July decided to re-open overland routes to Nato convoys crossing into Afghanistan, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said sorry for the air strike deaths last November.

The crisis was the worst episode in Pakistan's decade-long partnership with Washington in the war in Afghanistan, with both sides still struggling to overcome a breakdown in trust.

So far relatively few Nato trucks have actually trickled across the border, with owners awaiting a deal on compensation for seven months' missed work and security guarantees in the southern port city of Karachi.

Drone strikes

The convoy attack came a day after a US drone attack on a compound in the northwest killed at least 10 militants, according to officials - the first drone strike in the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.

There has been a dramatic increase in US drone strikes in Pakistan since May when a Nato summit in Chicago could not strike a deal to end the blockade on Nato supplies travelling to Afghanistan.

Washington considers Pakistan's semi-autonomous northwestern tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and al-Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.



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