Taliban torch another NATO fuel convoy in Islamabad


The Taliban destroyed 28 NATO fuel tankers bound for Afghanistan in an attack near Islamabad. The attack is the second of its kind since Pakistan closed down the Khyber Pass on Sept. 30 in protest against US cross-border attacks on Haqqani Network fighters fleeing from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Suspected Taliban fighters hit the fuel tankers during a midnight raid on a compound on the outskirts of Pakistan's capital. Three people were reported killed and 28 tankers burned in the aftermath of the attack. The suspected Taliban fighters escaped. It is unclear if Pakistani security forces provided any security for the fuel tankers.

The Taliban, commanded by Hakeemullah Mehsud, claimed the Islamabad attack and vowed to carry out further attacks on convoys in Pakistan.

"We will carry out more such attacks in future," Azam Tariq, Hakeemullah's spokesman, told AFP. We will not allow the use of Pakistani soil as a supply route for NATO troops based in Afghanistan."

Tariq also stated the attacks on NATO convoys were designed "to avenge drone attacks" from US Predators and Reapers that have been pounding Taliban and al Qaeda operatives in North Waziristan.

The Islamabad attack took place just two days after a nearly identical raid by the Taliban in the city of Shikarpur in Sindh province in the Afghan south. More than 36 fuel tankers and several container trucks were destroyed.

The Taliban spokesman Tariq also claimed the Shikarpur attack, and said a group based in Sindh known as the Siyara Group carried out the attack.

"They were local militants and had acquired training in South Waziristan and returned to their native towns to start attacks on government and security installations," Tariq told The News.

The Taliban struck at a NATO convoy outside Islamabad earlier this year, when a 15-man squad of Taliban hit a truck stop in Tarnol on June 9. Eight people, including two drivers, were killed in the attack, while more than 30 NATO fuel and supply trucks were destroyed. The Taliban have consistently hit NATO convoys and trucks in Peshawar, Khyber, and Quetta.

The latest two strikes took place after the Pakistani government angrily shut down NATO's supply route through the Khyber Pass, the main passage to NATO troops in Kabul and the surrounding areas. The Pakistan government closed the Khyber Pass after US helicopters pursued Haqqani Network fighters across the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan three times last week. The Pakistani military claimed that three Frontier Corps troops had been killed in the attacks, and the US military apologized for the attack before an investigation into the incident began.

Today Pakistan's ambassador to the US said the supply route would "open relatively quickly," perhaps in "less than a week."




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READER COMMENTS: "Taliban torch another NATO fuel convoy in Islamabad"

Posted by Gerry at October 3, 2010 9:41 PM ET:

I find it very hard to believe that such attacks could have occured with no security and only a few people killed unless advance warning and Pakistani help faciltated the attacks.

The Pakistani military and government have never been known for brilliance, only intrigue and payoffs.

The sooner they are gone the better.

Posted by Jimmy at October 3, 2010 10:56 PM ET:

When the Roman empire was overstretched and it no longer had its own soldiers to guard its borders and fight its wars, it used the Gothic (German) mercenaries to do its dirty work. But finally, these same Gothic barbarians sacked, looted and raped Rome and caused its downfall....

Today's America is overstretched and who does it turn to as mercenaries for doing its dirty work? The barbarians of the Pakistan Army + ISI. No surprise then that these very barbarians are causing pain to the great American dream!

No amount of aid or goodwill will cool the barbarian mindset of the Pakistan Army + ISI. (Inspite of around 500 million dollars of flood aid, Pak Army continues to kill NATO soldiers in Afghanistan. Inspite of 25 million dollars from India, it continues to push in terrorists into India and fires mortar shells every day at Indian border posts)

What they need is to be bombed into submission...No Mercy!

Posted by blert at October 4, 2010 12:09 AM ET:

Considering the ease of blockading all of Pakistan by sea and the dependency of Pakistan upon imports: food, fuel and whatnot...

The Pakistani national command authority is working inside a pretty tight box.

If the terror attacks against Europe proceed, what next for their true sponsor, the ISI?

More and more, it looks like a slow motion civil war is underway inside Pakistan.

Posted by Osman Mumtaz at October 4, 2010 1:12 AM ET:

Dear Mr. Bill Roggio,

The article you have written is very interesting, i feel though your sources need to be verified.

Firstly after one unauthorised crossing in to Pakistan by Nato troops, there was a Pakistani government objection. The second attack was more dubious as it is thought that Pakistani forces collaborated the attack, which the P govt denies.

The third attack did kill 3 border security soldiers and as a result of that then the border was shut. 3 strikes and that two with a friendly fire incident was the last straw.

When it comes to securing supply lines, one logistically for the PAK army to cover all Nato supply tankers is next to impossible, remember there is a catastrophe that has just occurred in Pakistan (floods). The PAK army are the most active in rehabilitation and rescue efforts.

Another thing i was going through TLWJs figures on airstrikes in Pakistan, they are unfortunately not correct it seems. I can't say for sure but hearing about civilian casualties as a result of Predator attacks is common and real.

I just hope that your writing is not based on trying to justify innocent lives and an attempt to under mine not only the Nato lives lost in this war but Pakistani lives lost as a result of Pakistan being an open ally. The number of people who have lost their lives, be it fighting for the PAK army or being a civilian in the war zone or a victim of terrorist attacks in cities like Islamabad and Lahore are a result of our alliance.

To bluntly blow off that sacrifice and to not report correct information is a gross injustice towards a cause that both America/Nato and Pakistan are fighting for.

Maybe if the American foreign policy didn't seem so dubious towards attacking countries of vast natural resources and previously supported leaders then they would be seen as a more trusted ally.

Posted by Charu at October 4, 2010 2:04 AM ET:

Any connection to the Pakistan military's visible anger with NATO's hot pursuit is strictly coincidental. The taped phone conversation between the Pakistan Taliban and Hamid Mir, an establishment "journalist" where the Taliban revealed that they were offered some of the NATO resupply convey to loot, provided that they didn't kill the golden goose is entirely circumstantial. Put your brains back to sleep; nothing to see here.

Posted by Concerned Observer at October 4, 2010 2:48 AM ET:

How about at least deducting the cost of the damages from their aid package?

Posted by KaneKaizer at October 4, 2010 3:34 AM ET:

I don't see any reason why the Pakistanis aren't at least indirectly responsible for these attacks, keeping them from crossing the border and leaving them without protection. They should be held responsible. Closing the border is one thing, letting the wolves have at our convoys is another.

Posted by Doug at October 4, 2010 7:48 AM ET:

Several days ago the Pakistani's said we'd have to decide who the enemy is...hmmm...now I wonder...

Posted by Marlin at October 4, 2010 7:58 AM ET:

StrategyPage (yes, I know it's unsourced) makes an interesting point I had never really considered before. Although, after watching Pakistan through the Long War Journal for the past few years, I'm would not be surprised at all if it's true.

Reports of Taliban attackers burning trucks loaded with NATO supplies are often just a deception. The cargoes, whether they be fuel or equipment, are often stolen. The vehicle is then burned, police investigators bribed, and an attempt made to convince NATO that it's all the Taliban's (or other unruly tribesman's) fault. NATO is pretty fed up with this, and hustling to shift supply movements to Central Asian and Caucasus railroads.

StrategyPage: Something Pakistan Is Infamous For

Posted by mofo55 at October 4, 2010 8:37 AM ET:

i agree with the notion of an in-progress pakistani civil war (that no one wants to talk about). there is also the idea of vietnam style "incrementalism" in trying to influence the pak gov. needless to say its a highly flawed method for winning a war. there is also little or no discussion of the very large opium trade and how this influences whats going on..

Posted by bard207 at October 4, 2010 9:03 AM ET:

Osman Mumtaz,

Since the floods happened roughly two months ago, I hope the Pakistani civilians in peril of dieing in the floods have been rescued by now. The vast majority of Pakistani troops are sitting on the Eastern (Indian) border, so the flood relief and rehabilitation excuse is weak.

If we go ahead and agree with your line of reasoning that the Pakistani Army is too stretched to provide security to the supply convoys, then ISAF forces will be permitted to provide their own security protection for the trucks as they transit Pakistan?

Since the Pakistani Army failed in performing to get the supply convoys safely through Pakistan, shouldn't the U.S. deduct some from the funding being given to Pakistan? Do you think it is right for Pakistan to accept payment while not even performing to at least a minimal level of security protection for the supply convoys?

Posted by GW at October 4, 2010 9:12 AM ET:

It's painfully obvious that the Pakistan military and Pakistan Taliban orchestrated these attacks. Both are our enemies.

Posted by JRP at October 4, 2010 9:14 AM ET:

More and more the $64,000 question with Pakistan is how much more internal instability can we suffer through until we realize it is time to ensure the non-proliferation of Pakistan's nuclear weapon stockpile. It is a joke to prioritize Iran's nuclear ambitions over the fact that Pakistan has the bomb and may very well give it to terrorists outright or be incapable of preventing them from getting hold of it on their own. Our country is rife with history proving that, surprise surprise, we are always caught with our guard down. Think the obvious such as Pearl Harbor and 9/11, but also Sputnik, Red China crossing into Korea, the Tet offensive. Do we really want to wake up to mushroom clouds over NYC, Washington DC, etc. to have to see the way forward?

Posted by M at October 4, 2010 9:31 AM ET:

Mysterious are the ways of the almighty!!

The tribals/taliban (or if you prefer, the enigmatic 'non-state actors' a la Mumbai 2008) magically appeared out of thin air, just in time to coincide with the recent decision of the Pakistani govt to blockade the NATO supply lines.

Ah, the coincidence...the wonders never cease! Of course, if anyone thinks that the Pakistani govt/ISI/Military (which the ill informed conspiracy theorists claim to be one and the same) is somehow behind all this, they must be wrong.

;-)

Posted by Verner at October 4, 2010 10:15 AM ET:

Start pulling our tax dollars for PAK support.

Posted by Brian at October 4, 2010 10:33 AM ET:

Osman Mumtaz, whether Pakistan objected to our "unauthorized crossing" one or more times seems irrelevant. The real questions are whether the crossings were done in hot pursuit and whether Pakistan has a legitimate claim to sovereignty to the territory anyway. The first issue is easy: Pakistan has not claimed that we were not acting in hot pursuit. Further, press coverage acknowledges that the helicopters killed scores of militants in the crossings.

On Pakistan's sovereignty: "A sovereign state is one whose subjects or citizens are in the habit of obedience to them and which are not themselves subject to any other (or paramount) state in any respect" Black's law. Pakistan readily admits that it lacks the capacity to control the tribal areas (especially North Waziristan). Indeed, it has stated that it will not assert the power of the state within many of those areas. I see no evidence that persons in those territories "are in the habit of obedience" to Pakistan. I see them at war with the state and Pakistani abdication of any responsibility to control significant portions of the territory. Consequently, Pakistan should not be able to claim an affront to its sovereignty when we cross the border, especially when we are in hot pursuit.

If you make the argument that Pakistan is sovereign over the territories - be very careful. Large numbers of persons in those tribal territories are actively planning and conducting acts of war against neighboring nations and all of Europe and the United States at this moment. If Pakistan claims sovereignty over the territories and admits that it will not take military action to stop those acts of war, isn't Pakistan complicit in those acts of war? With rights go responsibilities.

As to civilian casualties: we do not target civilians. All of the primary sources regarding the attacks make it clear that the strikes hit "miscreants, militants or foreigners". Civilian casualties are unintended, but unfortunately not entirely unavoidable. Under the laws of war, the responsibility for them lies with the militants who fail to separate themselves from non-combatants.

Regarding the frontier corps who may have been killed in one of the incursions: that was unfortunate. However, I believe the reports that they fired on the helicopters. They had to know the helicopters were ours. Why fire on the helicopters unless you are against our efforts? And if you do, what do you expect? Our military is extraordinarily lethal. The better way to handle incursions it to . The fact that they fired on the helicopters makes me suspect that they were helping the fleeing Taliban. After all, the frontier corps are made up of local people and are likely filled with persons sympathetic to the Pakistan and Afghanistan Taliban.

Posted by madashell59 at October 4, 2010 12:23 PM ET:

Everytime I read about these types of incidents I get confused. So the ISF are in Afganistan fighting the terror groups in Afganistan and the ISF use drones to attack the enemy that cross into Afganistan from Pakistan in Pakistan. NATO provides supplies which are located in Pakistan to the troops in Afganistan. So in essence that supply route is behind enemy lines.
So why do we not just invade Pakistan since the Pak govt, ISI, and Pak Military appears to be so corrupt? This way you can get the ole "Either your on our side or not".
I would think that most people in Pak like in Iraq have no clue who to trust and who will be around in the long run. I say we stop giving the dollars to Pak govt, invade and give the dollars to the people by means of recontruction.
Also, in the mind set of an invasion: There was lots of critics regarding why they broke up the Iraqi military but now looking at Paks military I think you can see why.
I guess the nuclear deterent works and if so what should we do about Iran since they are really fueling this war. And if there are really ties between the jihadists in the Pak military/govt and there are ties between the jihadists and Iran then there could also be ties or communications between Pak and Iran govt.
This is a game of deciept and deception. A magical trick that keeps your eye on the ball while other things are going on. WE NEED TO BEWARE!

Posted by AShahid at October 4, 2010 12:23 PM ET:

Mr. Mumtaz,

I feel it is necessary to directly respond to several of your points.

-You said: "Firstly after one unauthorised crossing in to Pakistan by Nato troops, there was a Pakistani government objection. The second attack was more dubious as it is thought that Pakistani forces collaborated the attack, which the P govt denies. The third attack did kill 3 border security soldiers and as a result of that then the border was shut. 3 strikes and that two with a friendly fire incident was the last straw."
-I offer: NATO, the US and the Afghan government have consistently 'objected' to the lack of Pakistani military attempts to secure the border, to no avail. To suggest that coalition personnel and aircraft do not have the right to respond when fired upon, regardless of what side of the border they are on, is asinine; the Taliban/HQN/CNG etc do not recognize the border, and the Pakistani establishment seems to only care about it when they can use it to protect retreating Taliban.

-You said: "Another thing i was going through TLWJs figures on airstrikes in Pakistan, they are unfortunately not correct it seems. I can't say for sure but hearing about civilian casualties as a result of Predator attacks is common and real."
-I offer: You state 'it seems' and 'is common' as if these unsourced anecdotal statements refute Mr. Roggio's data. They do not. Frankly, much of what you hear in Pakistan and South Asia about civilian casualties is TTP and Al Qa'ida propaganda, courtesy of the protection afforded to As Sahab and TTP/Afghan Taliban propagandists by the Pakistani government. If you're going to refute the numbers, provide documentary evidence and clear data points with which you disagree.

-You said: "I just hope that your writing is not based on trying to justify innocent lives and an attempt to under mine not only the Nato lives lost in this war but Pakistani lives lost as a result of Pakistan being an open ally. The number of people who have lost their lives, be it fighting for the PAK army or being a civilian in the war zone or a victim of terrorist attacks in cities like Islamabad and Lahore are a result of our alliance."
-I offer: The civilian dead in Pakistan are overwhelmingly the result of Islamist terrorism, rather than the comparatively tiny number of civilians killed in drone strikes. From my own limited knowledge, it seems that, failing the full deployment of the terrorist groups that were formed and fostered from the days of Zia-ul Haq through Musharraf in a proxy war in Kashmir, the current violent conflict between extremist Islam and secularism would have been inevitable. You're lucky that the drones have killed as many of the senior figures and bomb experts as they have. Otherwise the Pakistani government would have already fallen.

-You said: "To bluntly blow off that sacrifice and to not report correct information is a gross injustice towards a cause that both America/Nato and Pakistan are fighting for."
-I respond: Now this, I agree with. But I don't think Mr. Roggio is 'blowing off' Pakistani sacrifices, but tracking PAKMIL and civilian dead from Islamist violence falls outside the scope of the data set.

You said: "Maybe if the American foreign policy didn't seem so dubious towards attacking countries of vast natural resources and previously supported leaders then they would be seen as a more trusted ally."
I offer: I'm assuming you mean 'disposed' rather than dubious. US foreign policy has many goals. Securing access to certain natural resources is certainly a part of that. But at this point, I think it's a weak argument vis a vis AF/PAK. The relative cost/benefit looks pretty dismal until you factor in the probable costs of future Islamist terror attacks, at which point the scales shift back.

Just my observations on your points. I welcome dissent.

Posted by Charley at October 4, 2010 12:26 PM ET:

Good catch, Marlin. Reminds one of the Ojiri explosion of 1988, to hide the pilferage of Stingers and other US arms, just in time before the visit from the US auditors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ojri

Posted by ED at October 4, 2010 1:48 PM ET:

WHAT IS MISSING FROM THE NEWSPAPER REPORT IS " SECURITY FORCES ENGAGED THE GUNMAN AND WERE FORCED TO WITHDRAW ". OR "SECURITY FORCES ARE IN PURSUIT OF THE GUNMAN ". NEITHER ONE OF THE ABOVE OCCURED OR ARE NOT BEING REPORTED.

THE SECOND ATTACK OCCURED OUTSIDE THE DEFENSE HOUSING AUTHORTY'S PHASE II . THERE IS PROBABLY NOT ANY SECURITY FORCES AROUND THAT AREA.

REALLY?

Posted by paul at October 4, 2010 2:29 PM ET:

This is a message from the Pak military to the Nato forces,We can destroy your supplies so dont kill our soldiers!

Posted by omar at October 4, 2010 2:40 PM ET:

The saddest part is that some poor drivers and "cleaners" on these trucks are being sacrificed in the course of these stupid games. But of course, "strategic depth" is more important than a few dead drivers...check out http://criticalppp.com/archives/24955

Posted by Spooky at October 5, 2010 2:01 AM ET:

Deducting humanitarian aid would only make our problems worse. They'd probably close the other gate for that.

I must say, I'm getting tired at both the saber-rattling that goes on here from some of the commentators as well as the official policies that give the Pakistan Army free reign to do what they wish.

Instead of taking out our frustration and anger at the Pakistani people, the majority of whom are innocent of this and powerless (with the minority being the ones who are making a profit off of the chaos), it would be better instead to find a way to curtail the Army as an institution and facilitate the peaceful break up of Pakistan, with neighboring states absorbing its remnants. Unrealistic? Perhaps, but compared to the out and out war/fearmongering and blame games normal to the comments here, its at least something different to try.

We must eliminate the threat without alienating even more people. So far we're doing the opposite.

Posted by bard207 at October 6, 2010 12:04 AM ET:

Spooky,


------------------------------------------------------------------
Deducting humanitarian aid would only make our problems worse.
They'd probably close the other
gate for that.
------------------------------------------------------------------


Doubling humanitarian aid probably wouldn't help the problem - situation either.
There was quite a bit of footdragging by Pakistan in regards to the proper labeling of humnaitarian aid provided by the U.S. for flood relief.
I think there will come a time that the ISAF footprint in Afghanistan will have to be reduced because of the supply chain problem of going through Pakistan. Whether ISAF takes the initiative to reduce or it is forced, the time will come.
The present assembly of area and people that is called Pakistan is a mess that
will not be easily fixed.

---------------------------------------------------------------
I must say, I'm getting tired at both the saber-rattling that goes on here from some of the commentators as well as the official policies that give the Pakistan Army
free reign to do what they wish.
---------------------------------------------------------------

I am not in the war mongering group, but I do understand the frustration with the lack of integrity by the Pakistani army.

If there was an easy - viable way to get the Pakistani Army under control, don't you think that it would have been done by now? Several years ago, When the civilian government tried to put the ISI under control of the civilian government rather than the current setup of Army
control, the civilian government was rebuffed. The Pakistani Army has a history of being different and making its own decisions rather than being subordinate to
civilian authority.

---------------------------------------------------------------
Instead of taking out our frustration and anger at the Pakistani people, the majority of whom are innocent of this and powerless (with the minority being the ones who are making a profit off of the chaos), it would be better instead to find a way to curtail the Army as an institution and facilitate the peaceful break up of Pakistan, with neighboring states absorbing its remnants. Unrealistic? Perhaps, but compared to the
out and out war/fearmongering and blame games normal to the comments here, its at Least something different to try.

We must eliminate the threat without alienating even more people. So far we're doing the opposite.
---------------------------------------------------------------

The warmongering expressed by some at the Long War Journal is quite mild compared to what I have seen on some Pakistani dominated web sites.

I have seen the breakup option discussed elsewhere on the Internet and the Punjabi dominated Pakistani Army would have a serious problem with that. There are still dreams by some to fly the Pakistani flag (or similar) at the Red Fort and to be reabsorbed into India instead would not be a happy experience for them.

An alternate scenario would be for the Punjab to remain as an independent entity and for the Sindh to go its own way and become a country or at least a protectorate of India.
Then the Pakistani Punjab land area would become landlocked which would again be something that the Pakistani Army would be unhappy with.

If you have some viable solutions - suggestions to get the Pakistani Army under control (without significant heartache & pain), then share them with us.

An alternative would be to send your idea(s) in an email to Bill and let him contact the appropriate people on your behalf.