Taliban storm 2 Peshawar trucking terminals, 160 NATO vehicles torched


peshawar-terminal-12072008.jpg

Hulks of burned out NATO vehicles litter a shipping terminal in Peshawar after the Taliban launched a military assault on the compound. AP photo.

The Taliban launched military assaults on two shipping terminals in the Pakistani city of Peshawar, destroying more than 160 NATO military vehicles and supplies destined for Afghanistan. Security in the northwestern city is deteriorating as the Taliban seeks to control the region and shut down NATO's logistical chain to Afghanistan.

The first attack took place at the Portward Logistic Terminal. An estimated 200 to 300 Taliban fighters fired rockets at the front gate, destroying the entrance and leveling the wall. The nine security guards on duty fled in the face of the massed Taliban attack.

Taliban fighters then fired rocket propelled grenades into the compound and proceeded to set fire to the NATO vehicles parked inside. "There were dozens of them. They started firing, they used rockets, causing a lot of damage," the manager of the shipping terminal told the Associated Press.

The Taliban force rampaged in the compound for more than forty minutes before Peshawar police responded. The Taliban force disengaged after clashing with the police, leaving the terminal in ruins. "They were shouting Allahu Akbar (God is Great) and Down With America," a security guard told Reuters.

The attack was devastating. One security guard was killed and at least 106 NATO vehicles, including more than 70 Humvees, were destroyed. "In this incident 96 flat trucks and six containers were destroyed, including a 40-foot container," the terminal manager said. "Also armored jeeps, trucks and fire brigade vehicles."

A second attack took place at the Al Faisal Terminal. A large Taliban force stormed the terminal after overwhelming the security guards. Three Pakistanis, including the terminal watchman, were killed in the attack. Sixty-two Humvees and other vehicles were reported destroyed in the attack.

It is unclear if the same Taliban force conducted both attacks, or if two separate Taliban units operated simultaneously.

The Pakistani government shut down the vital Khyber Pass crossing two times this year. The first time, the government closed the crossing to protest US airstrikes against Taliban and al Qaeda operatives sheltering in the tribal areas. The second time was in response to the poor security situation.

The government said NATO convoys would be accompanied and protected by Pakistani military units. But no Pakistani unit was anywhere near the NATO vehicles at the time of the attack on the terminals.

NATO: Attacks are "militarily insignificant"

The US military in Afghanistan downplayed the attacks on the terminals, describing the effects on the NATO operation in Afghanistan as "militarily insignificant."

"It's militarily insignificant," Lieutenant Colonel Rumi Nielsen-Green told AP. "You can't imagine the volume of supplies that come through there and elsewhere and other ways."So far there hasn't been a significant loss or impact to our mission."

Last week, a NATO official made similar comments concerning last week's attacks on convoys moving through northwestern Pakistan. "The attacks that have taken place on NATO supplies, while of concern, have not been of strategic significance," said NATO spokesman James Appathurai. "They have not affected the operation in any substantial way."

Today's attack in Peshawar destroyed enough vehicles to equip several companies of infantry or support units.

Taliban seeks to shut down NATO's supply line, conquer Peshawar

The Taliban have launched a coordinated campaign to sever the NATO logistical chain stretching from the port city of Karachi to Peshawar, through the Khyber Pass to Kabul. More than 70 percent of NATO supplies move through Peshawar.

The Taliban attacked NATO convoys as well as the Peshawar terminal several times in the past week. Twelve NATO vehicles were damaged in an assault on one of Peshawar's terminals, while two drivers were killed and two supply vehicles were damaged in a roadside bomb attack at a bridge. Earlier this month, Taliban fighters loyal to Baitullah Mehsud hijacked 13 vehicles in a NATO convoy in Khyber. Two US Humvees were paraded through the tribal agency.

The Pakistani military launched an operation with the intent of clearing the Taliban from the Peshawar district more than three weeks ago. In a press conference, a Pakistan Frontier Corps general touted the success of the operation, noting 25 Taliban fighters were killed and 40 captured. The operation, designed to relieve pressure on the provincial capital, was the second military offensive in Peshawar since the summer.

The offensive clearly has not succeeded in driving the Taliban from Peshawar, as the multiple attacks on NATO convoys and the string of bombings inside the city demonstrate.

The Taliban have only crept close to Peshawar. The Northwest Frontier Province government called for military action in the Jamrud region, just west of Peshawar, as the Taliban is in control of the area. "The government has to take action or we shall see Iraq-like situation in the area in the coming few months," an official told Daily Times.



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READER COMMENTS: "Taliban storm 2 Peshawar trucking terminals, 160 NATO vehicles torched"

Posted by Fred at December 7, 2008 3:43 PM ET:

Is there any way we can return the favor and interfere with Taliban logistics?


Pakistan has been friends with the US for over 50 years. I remember seeing a video of then Senator John F Kennedy on Meet the Press in the 1950's saying the US had but two friends in the Middle East, Pakistan and Israel. He had just come back from a trip to the Middle East.

I can't find the video on youtube but it may be here on hulu. Hulu is not always reliable. The video is from 1951.


Anyway, the point is that it would be a shame to lose a friend.


Also, it is interesting that the US is friends with both Israel and Pakistan, who are not friends of each other.

Posted by NS at December 7, 2008 4:39 PM ET:

Fred,
It isnt as simple as "helping a friend". You may want to read Bill's analysis of Pakistan's role in the war on terror
http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/12/pakistans_jihad.php

Besides, it is very difficult to help people who cannot help themselves. Even if these people happen to be friends.

Posted by anand at December 7, 2008 6:01 PM ET:

160 vehicles is similar to 1 MTR.

Posted by Render at December 7, 2008 8:23 PM ET:

Somebody is whistling past the graveyard.

===

Should Pakistan and India go to full scale warfare, can the US hold open an air corridor over Baluchistan long enough to evacuate Allied forces from Afghanistan?

Does the US have enough military transport aircraft to acomplish such an operation? At short notice?

Will India seek to blockade Karachi as they did in 1971?

DEEP
WATER,
R

Posted by Marlin at December 7, 2008 9:13 PM ET:

Is this a third strike on a trucking terminal in Peshawar today?

According to details, Peshawar was shaken by the rocket explosions, which were fired from five different locations on to Link road Truck station.

It is pertinent to mention here that link road truck stand was intermediate stopping place for container and truck taking supplies for NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Geo TV: Rocket fired at different parts of Peshawar

Posted by KnightHawk at December 7, 2008 9:24 PM ET:

"militarily insignificant" may be true in terms of any immediate effect but it sounds like spin on something that is still quite significant.

Posted by Cannoneer No. 4 at December 7, 2008 9:31 PM ET:

Why are we still running everything through Peshawar and Torkham?

Mr.Ten Percent is incapable of commanding the resources of the fictional Westphalian nation-state of Pakistan to make the writ of Jalabad run along OEF's MSR. Either we abandon Afghanistan or we abandon the facade of Pakistani sovereignty and fight the convoys through ourselves.

How long would the Indian Border Roads Organization take to build a road through the Registan desert from Gwadar to Kandahar?

Free Baluchistan!

Posted by Render at December 8, 2008 8:46 AM ET:

Frank, I sympathise with you entirely but...

There are over 50,000 Allied troops in Afghanistan, over 20,000 of those are US. A couple of C-130's isn't gonna cut it.

All 78 or so of the C-5's and all 179 or so of the C-17's and all the C-130's still in service combined aren't enough to support 50,000+ combat troops in the field.

The lessons of Stalingrad and Dien Bien Phu are still true to this day.

Logistics is King and you cannot support an army by air.

SURFACING,
R

Posted by Bill Roggio at December 8, 2008 10:59 AM ET:

Frank,

Had you given a valid email address, I could explain why the comment was removed. Using an invalid email address also violated the comemnts policy.

We do not "censor" - we remove comments that violate the clearly stated policy. We have standards we enforce, this has nothing to do with free speech or the free exchange of ideas. You wouldn't let a foul-mouthed bore stay in your home to cause strife within your family by being offensive, would you? Or would you be limiting their free speech by asking him to behave or leave?

The use of foul language causes the comments to quickly degrade into foul-mouthed conversation. Until you can comment without being offensive, comments will be removed. It is that simple.

Posted by Jerjes Talpur at December 8, 2008 11:12 AM ET:

Well being a Pakistani we are in doubtful condition, we really don't need mess at all, we need to live peacefully no matter which religion and faith we belongs to, we don't let to poke anyone in our internal matters, and we can assure world for any kind of threat will not come from Pakistan.

No doubt conditions were not good in Pakistan but i am sure that Pak-Forces are doing good job for wiping out none-state extremists, these are not Islamic extremists they are just miss using label of Islam because by that they can easily fool anyone by saying we are protecting Islam and we are at right no one can stop us except ALLAH.

What is ALLAH ? ALLAH is only creator , who has created every living and none-living things , and we are taking advantage of its creation, and living our life, ALLAH has created cycle of life, he changes climate seasons he is the only Almighty and beneficial for all human being, whats wrong in that? can we live without food and water? can we survive without sea and sun ? we are dependent at him that's why we always love him and remember him.

ISLAM is religion and Muslims are only those who admire his creations, and take full spiritual peace through his praise, because he has created limited life but unlimited Cycle of life.

now we these peace seeking people can become grave danger for world? it is really bad to give such name, it is like brain washing if, some any community saying any person continually your are bad you are bad you are bad, as white Americans used to say black Americans and after got into frustration black Americans started to do extremist kind of things,so this all is happening here. your criticism at Muslims are supporting none-state extremists to brain wash innocent Muslims by saying that you are isolated in this world NATO is ur enemy , Israel Is ur enemy , India Is ur enemy. then tell me isnt it enough for creating hate against all these forces.

So dear Americans kindly change your policy and work for peace not destruction, try to win heart of people not try to mess their minds, after frustrating them you saying see these are extremists. SHAME

Posted by Render at December 8, 2008 11:13 AM ET:

ok, maybe not entirely...

INCOMING!,
R

Posted by DJ Elliott at December 8, 2008 11:18 AM ET:

Bill:

You probably should have addressed it to Frank, Mike, Paul, or John. Which ever names he is using to argue with himself today...

Posted by Render at December 9, 2008 1:07 AM ET:

Is "Jerjes Talpur" a common name in that region?

http://insurgencyresearchgroup.wordpress.com/2008/05/05/images-from-afghanistan-2/

RED
DOT,
R

Posted by Jerjes Talpur at December 9, 2008 11:30 AM ET:

Yes Render i am same working and hoping to see stable peaceful pakistan.

Posted by Render at December 9, 2008 8:42 PM ET:

Jerjes - As long as you persist in believing that its all some great Zionist/Jewish/infidel conspiracy you will never have peace.

EVER,
R