Burnt military vehicles on the outskirts of Peshawar. (Reuters)
Peshawar, Dec. 8 (Reuters): For a second night running, Taliban militants torched dozens of containers full of supplies meant for western forces in Afghanistan on the outskirts of Peshawar, officials and witnesses said.
Having set ablaze close to 100 trucks, some carrying military vehicles, early yesterday, the militants struck again today, this time hitting a container terminal 2km away from the first attack.
The militants came just past midnight, firing in the air, sprinkled petrol on containers and then set them on fire, said Mohammad Zaman, a security guard at the terminal on the Peshawar ring road.
They told us they would not harm us, but they asked us not to work for the Americans. Close to 50 containers were destroyed.
Militants also fired rockets at two trucks carrying supplies for Nato forces as they drove along the ring road overnight.
The route from Peshawar through the Khyber Pass to the border town of Torkham is the most important supply line for US and Nato forces fighting a Taliban insurgency in landlocked Afghanistan.
A spate of attacks has raised concerns both about the security Pakistan provides to the truck convoys and the spread of militancy to the Khyber tribal region and the gates of Peshawar, the most important city in the northwest.
A week ago, militants destroyed 22 trucks carrying food supplies. It was unclear how many militants took part in todays attack.
Security guards the previous night said they were overrun by around 200 militants, who shouted Allah--Akbar (God is Great) and Down with America as they broke into the truck terminal.
They said the militants fired rockets and hurled grenades, and one guard was killed in a shootout between the raiding party and police.
While most supplies for foreign forces in Afghanistan are trucked via Pakistan through Khyber, the other main land route runs from the southwestern city of Quetta through the border town of Chaman to the southern Afghan city of Kandahar.
The growing violence has raised concern about the stability of nuclear-armed Pakistan, as its eight-month-old civilian government is also grappling with an economic crisis.
Pakistans support is seen as vital to the Wests efforts to defeat al Qaida globally and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Apart from the deteriorating security situation in the northwest, the government is trying to handle tension with India.
In the northwest, the military has recently extended an offensive from the Bajaur tribal region to the neighbouring Mohmand region. Air power has been employed on a scale hitherto unseen in Pakistans long running struggle to crush militancy in the tribal areas. More than 1,000 militants have been killed in Bajaur alone, according to the military.