QUETTA: At least 42 oil tankers and containers carrying goods for Nato and US troops in Afghanistan came under rocket attack in the Kharotabad area of the provincial capital on Thursday night.
About 29 oil tankers and 15 containers had been parked in the local terminal at Kharotabad when they were attacked. Police said that the oil tankers and containers caught fire when unknown armed men fired two rockets and subsequently gunfire targeting the oil tankers. All of sudden the oil tankers caught fire and were destroyed. However, the fire fighters saved two containers, sources added.
Reports said that a caravan of some 44 oil tankers and containers had been parked in the parking area of a local terminal in Kharotabad, since Pakistan had closed its borders for the Nato supply to Afghanistan after Nato’s attack in Mohmand Agency, which had claimed the lives of 24 Pakistani soldiers on Nov 26. At about 8:30 pm unknown armed men attacked the terminals with rockets and gunfire.
As the oil tanker caught the fire, the densely thick smoke surrounded the tankers. Out of 44 tankers and containers, 42 of them were completely gutted. The flames were so high that they could be seen from far off places. However, the attackers fled from the scene leaving behind the oil tankers and containers in huge fire.
The fire fighters rushed to the spot and started their efforts to extinguish the fire. “This is a huge blaze which cannot be extinguished with a few fire engines,” the official said, adding that all the drivers and cleaners fled after the fire engulfed their vehicles following deafening rockets attack at the terminal.
Giving details about the attack, the Home Secretary Balochistan Naseebullah Khan Bazai told the media men on the spot that there were over 30 oil tankers and containers, which had been parked in the terminal.
He added some unknown armed men not only fired two rockets but also fired several rounds targeting the tankers. Soon after the attack, the fire fighters were informed who reached on the spot and started their struggle to extinguish the fire, he maintained.
The home secretary said that there are 300-400 oil tankers and containers, which had been parked in different places in Balochistan since the supply to Nato troops had been cut off. Efforts are underway to provide them security.
Long queues of oil tankers and containers, loaded with fuel and consumable items on their way to Kabul and Kandahar, were seen parked in Chaman, Quetta’s Mianghundi area, as forces did not allow them to enter Afghanistan.