Pakistan-bound NATO trucks set ablaze after leaving Afghanistan
Pakistani gunmen have torched five NATO trucks carrying equipment out of Afghanistan as the alliance’s international forces withdraw from their combat mission in the country after 12 years of war.
Four masked gunmen on two motorbikes attacked NATO vehicles in
the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan, forcing them to
stop after leaving Afghan territory. Attackers then poured gasoline
onto the trucks and set them on fire.
"Five NATO trucks were carrying NATO equipment back. Gunmen
first fired on the first vehicle and then sprinkled petrol on all
of them," AFP quoted senior Pakistani Iftikhar Bugti as saying,
who added that one of the drivers sustained minor injuries and all
five trucks were completely destroyed in the fire.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for the incident; the
attackers fled the scene before security forces arrived.
The withdrawal of military hardware and vehicles from
Afghanistan comes as a part of US President Barack Obama’s decision
to remove 34,000 American troops from the country within one
The US military officials said Sunday that the “retrograde from
Afghanistan” will cost between $5 and $6 billion. Some 25,000
vehicles were shipped out of Afghanistan over the last year;
another 25,000 remain in the country.
Relations between Washington and Islamabad worsened in 2011,
significantly complicating NATO’s military mission in Afghanistan.
The alliance was forced to use alternative routes to deliver
supplies – from the north, through Russia and Central Asian
countries – which has been twice as expensive as transport directly
In July 2012, Pakistan pledged to reopen crucial supply routes
for NATO-led forces in Afghanistan. The agreement came after the US
apologized to Pakistan for killing 24 of its troops. The US hopes
to save hundreds of millions of dollars with the reopened routes as
it begins withdrawing from Afghanistan.