/ 24 March 2008

Many hurt as militants blow up tankers in Pakistan

Islamic militants in a Pakistani border town blew up 36 tankers supplying fuel for United States and Nato troops in neighbouring Afghanistan, wounding up to 100 people, officials said on Monday.

The rebels late on Sunday destroyed the tankers that were parked in Landikotal, the main town of the troubled Khyber tribal district where Taliban and al-Qaeda-linked insurgents have carried out a series of attacks.

”An improvised explosive device planted underneath a tanker went off, triggering a massive fire injuring up to 100 people and completely gutting 36 tankers,” a local administration official said on condition of anonymity.

More than 80 tankers were parked in the town when the explosion took place.

”We believe that pro-Taliban militants are behind the attack,” the official said, adding that 12 people sustained serious burn injuries.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

It was one of the worst attacks of its kind since June last year, when militants blew up at least 13 oil tankers supplying fuel to US bases in eastern and southern Afghanistan. — AFP