PESHAWAR, Pakistan – Suspected militants fired a rocket Wednesday that hit a terminal for trucks carrying supplies to NATO and U.S. troops in Afghanistan, underscoring the insurgents increasing hold over parts of northwest Pakistan.
The rocket was one of two fired late in the day in the region's capital, Peshawar, said police officer Abdul Qadirwhich. The city, which sits along the supply route from Pakistan to Afghanistan, has seen an upsurge in violence in recent weeks, including the slaying of an American working on a U.S-funded aid project.
Neither of the rockets caused serious damage or any injuries, he said.
Qadir said officers were not sure whether the truck terminal was the target of the attack. The rockets are normally fired into the city from hills on its outskirts some 7 miles away.
Up to 75 percent of the supplies for Western forces in landlocked Afghanistan pass through Pakistan. Peshawar is a key stop for convoys en route to the Khyber Pass and on to Western Afghanistan.
Earlier this month, suspected Taliban militants hijacked several trucks near the Khyber Pass whose load included Humvees heading to the U.S.-led coalition. Pakistan halted traffic along the road for several days while it arranged for armed troops to guard the slow-moving convoys.
Al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the border region are blamed for rising attacks in Pakistan and also in Afghanistan, where violence is running at its highest level since the U.S-led invasion in 2001.
In a sign of its frustration, Washington has carried out a surge of missile attacks in the lawless area since August, killing dozens of militants but angering Pakistan's young government and many of its 170 million people.
In the city of Lahore on Wednesday, about 1,000 members of an Islamist political party marched against the American strikes.
"America's graveyard: Afghanistan, Afghanistan," they shouted. "America's graveyard: Pakistan, Pakistan."
Pakistani intelligence officers said a U.S. strike over the weekend killed British militant suspect Rashid Rauf, but visiting British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was unable to confirm that. "Until we clarify what has happened to him, I would be wrong to comment," he said during a dialogue with students at an Islamic university.
Rauf, who is of Pakistani origin, has been on the run since last December, when he escaped from police escorting him back to jail after an extradition hearing in Islamabad. He is linked to a plot to blow up jetliners flying across the Atlantic.