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Bomb blast destroys five NATO oil tankers in Pakistan

by Staff Writers
Peshawar, Pakistan (AFP) May 13, 2011
At least five NATO oil tankers bound for Afghanistan caught fire on Friday after a bomb planted beneath one of them exploded, but there were no casualties, officials in Pakistan said.

"A remote-controlled device planted under one of the tankers carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan went off, triggering a fire that engulfed four more tankers," local administration official Iqbal Khan Khattak said.

The tankers were parked in the Torkham area of the troubled Khyber tribal region near the Afghan border.

Khattak said that there were a total of 21 tankers parked in the terminal, but the other vehicles were safe after being moved away from the blast site.

A local intelligence official confirmed the incident and said there were no casualties.

No group has claimed responsibility for the blast but the Taliban has said it carried out such attacks in the past.

The bombing follows twin suicide blasts on Friday that killed 80 people at a paramilitary police training centre in Shabqadar in northwest Pakistan, in what the Pakistani Taliban said was revenge for the killing of Osama bin Laden.

Most supplies and equipment required by foreign troops in Afghanistan are shipped through Pakistan.

The main northwestern border crossing was closed to NATO supply vehicles for 11 days last September after a cross-border NATO helicopter assault killed two Pakistani soldiers.

Taliban and Al-Qaeda-linked militants frequently launch attacks across northwestern Pakistan and the lawless tribal belt on the Afghan border, which Washington has branded the most dangerous place in the world.

Under US pressure to crack down on Islamist havens on the border, Pakistan has in the past two years stepped up military operations against largely homegrown militants in the tribal regions.

Islamabad launched its most ambitious military offensive against Taliban militants in South Waziristan in 2009, expanding the campaign to many of the other seven semi-autonomous tribal districts along the border.

Washington says wiping out the militant threat in Pakistan's semi-autonomous tribal belt is vital to winning the war against the Taliban in Afghanistan and defeating Al-Qaeda.

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Washington (UPI) May 11, 2011
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