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Militants Burn Afghan Trucks Destined For Western Troops

Torched trucks destined for NATO forces in Afghanistan from a previous insurgent attack in Peshawar
PESHAWAR, Pakistan (Reuters) -- Militants in northwest Pakistan have raided a depot for trucks taking supplies to Western forces in Afghanistan, destroying 12 trucks but causing no casualties, police said.

The attack was the fifth in a week on the vital supply line for Western forces in landlocked Afghanistan. About 300 trucks laden with supplies, including military vehicles, have been destroyed in the attacks, according to a government estimate.

"Some miscreants came, torched a dozen trucks, and ran away. None of us saw any attacker," said Chaudhry Ashraf, senior police officer responsible for security on a ring road around the city of Peshawar, where trucking depots are located.

Militants have in recent months intensified attacks on supplies for Western troops being trucked to Afghanistan through northwest Pakistan's Khyber Pass from the port of Karachi.

About 75 percent of the vehicles, parts, weapons, fuel, water, and food needed to sustain more than 60,000 Western troops in Afghanistan move through the pass and a second overland route to the south between Pakistan's Quetta and Kandahar in Afghanistan.

Western military officials have played down the attacks, saying they have had an insignificant effect and have not affected combat operations.

Ashraf said he had insufficient resources and men to guard the trucks and their supplies.

"We do routine patrolling, but that's not enough and every time we get to the spot late. We need additional forces and resources," he said. "The terminals should have proper boundary walls, lighting systems, and about 30 armed men there to at least put up some resistance for some time."

Pakistani authorities halted movement of supplies through the Khyber Pass for a week in November after militants hijacked 13 trucks carrying Western supplies.