PAKISTANI Taliban have claimed responsibility for the latest attack on a NATO supply convoy in the southwest and vowed they would continue until US drone strikes are stopped.
“We accept responsibility for the attacks on the NATO supply trucks and tankers in Sibi district on Saturday,” Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Azam Tariq said.
“We will continue the attacks on NATO trucks and tankers until the drone strikes are stopped,” he said in a telephone call from an undisclosed location.
Gunmen have torched at least 29 oil tankers in southwest Pakistan, the sixth attack in just over a week on vehicles carrying supplies for the 152,000-strong foreign forces fighting the Taliban-led insurgency.
Previous attacks have also been claimed by Taliban.
Two police officers were hurt in the attack in remote Mitri area of Sibi district, 180 kilometres southeast of Quetta, the capital of oil and gas rich Baluchistan province, which borders Iran and Afghanistan.
“Some 30 gunmen attacked the tankers, which were parked outside a roadside hotel and opened fire early Saturday morning, injuring two local police officials,” Abdul Mateen, a senior administration official in Mitri, said.
Taliban militants have launched a string of attacks on NATO supply vehicles in Pakistan in the past week to avenge a new wave of US drone strikes targeting Taliban and al-Qaeda militants in the country’s lawless tribal region.
Pakistani authorities have reported 26 drone attacks since September 3 which have killed more than 140 people in the region, a hub for homegrown and foreign militants fighting in Afghanistan.
The strikes have been linked to a US plan to disrupt an alleged plot by extremists to launch Mumbai-style attacks in Europe.
Pakistan announced it had decided to reopen the main land route for NATO supplies to Afghanistan and officials at the Torkham border in the northwest Khyber region said the vehicles would start leaving later.