Afghan supplies torched in Pakistan

Suspected militants kill a guard and torch up to 160 lorries carrying supplies for Nato and US troops.

Pakistani employees inspect the smoldering trucks at a Nato terminal outside the north-western city of Peshawar.
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PESHAWAR, PAKISTAN // Suspected militants attacked a Pakistan transport terminal used to supply Nato and US troops in Afghanistan, killing a guard and burning up to 160 vehicles early today, an official said. The assault was the boldest yet on trucks carrying critical supplies to foreign troops in Afghanistan, feeding concern that Taliban militants could cut or seriously disrupt the route through the Khyber Pass. Up to 75 per cent of the supplies for Western forces in the landlocked country pass through Pakistan after being unloaded from ships at the Arabian sea port of Karachi. About 30 assailants armed with guns and rockets attacked the Portward Logistic Terminal near the city of Peshawar before dawn today, police official Kashif Alam said. A guard at the terminal was killed in the attack. Mr Alam said that fire swept through the terminal, destroying 62 vehicles. But terminal manager Kifayatullah Khan said 106 vehicles were destroyed, including 62 that were carrying Humvees. The rest of the torched trucks were carrying sealed shipping containers or other vehicles, including fire engines and dump trucks, Mr Khan said. He said his terminal only handled trucks carrying military supplies for Afghanistan. A series of recent attacks on trucks between Peshawar and the Afghan border has highlighted the route's vulnerability to Taliban-led militants in the border region. Last week, suspected insurgents attacked another terminal near Peshawar and burned 12 trucks loaded with Nato supplies, including several Humvees. Two guards were shot dead. Nato and US officials have said that losses along the supply route are not affecting their operations in Afghanistan. Still, Nato is seeking to open alternative routes through Central Asia. *AP