NATO tanker attacked in Pakistan

AT least 15 people were killed in an oil tanker blaze after a bomb exploded on the Afghanistan-bound NATO vehicle near a Pakistani border town today, officials said.

The victims were young people who had gathered to collect oil leaking from the tanker near Landi Kotal town in the north-western tribal region of Khyber, local administration official Shafeerullah Wazir said.

“The oil tanker caught fire after a blast caused by a small bomb before dawn,” he said.

“Villagers from nearby houses rushed and started collecting oil coming out of the destroyed tanker after the fire had been extinguished.

“Suddenly the fire erupted again and at least 15 people including five young boys who had been collecting oil in their buckets were burnt to death,” he said.

Earlier, 11 other NATO supply containers and oil tankers were destroyed in nearby Torkham town, another administration official, Iqbal Khattak, said.

“The vehicles caught fire after a blast in one of the tankers around midnight last night,” he said, adding that the blast was apparently caused by a remote-controlled device planted under one of the vehicles.

“There were no casualties,” Mr Khattak said.

Mr Wazir confirmed the attack, saying that a total of 12 NATO vehicles had been destroyed in the two incidents.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast but the Taliban have claimed such attacks in the past.

The attacks on NATO supply vehicles came after the Taliban bombed a US consulate convoy in Peshawar on Friday, killing one person and wounding 11 others in the first attack on Americans in Pakistan since Osama bin Laden’s death.

A US embassy spokesman said two US government employees were lightly wounded in the rush-hour attack in the volatile north-western city, which runs into the tribal belt that Washington has branded a global headquarters of al-Qa’ida.

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