PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Suspected militants attacked a Pakistani transport terminal from which supplies are sent to NATO troops in Afghanistan, burning dozens of vehicles and shipping containers, police said.
Rising Taliban attacks have raised doubts about the reliability of critical supply routes through Pakistan, prompting the U.S. and NATO to seek alternatives.
About 40 assailants struck the Pak-Afghan Container Terminal near the northwestern city of Peshawar before dawn Sunday, police and witnesses said.
Mohammad Asif Khan, an assistant to a driver whose truck was parked at the terminal, said armed men scaled the back wall of the compound and tied up the guards.
"I was hiding in a corner, and I saw them throw petrol bombs and fire rockets and shots" at the parked vehicles, he said.
Police official Ejaz Khan said the attackers burned dozens of vehicles and shipping containers. An Associated Press Television News cameraman who visited the depot said the charred wrecks included several Humvees.
It was unclear if the torched supplies were destined for foreign troops in Afghanistan or for the Western-backed Afghan army, which uses similar imported equipment.
Afghan-based U.S. and NATO forces get up to 75 percent of their supplies via routes through Pakistan.
Suspected Taliban militants have repeatedly struck transport depots near Peshawar in recent months, destroying scores of military vehicles, while attacks on the road through the Khyber Pass to the Afghan border have repeatedly forced its temporary closure.
U.S. and NATO officials insist the attacks have little impact on their operations, but are looking at ways to bring more supplies into Afghanistan through Central Asia.