Rail lines through Central Asia. Map from The Schiller Institute.
The Taliban hit NATO supply trucks parked at a terminal in Peshawar for the third time in 24 hours. More than 230 NATO vehicles and trucks transporting supplies have been destroyed in six attacks over the past six days.
A Taliban force struck the Bilal terminal on Peshawar’s Ring Road early this morning Pakistan time and torched vehicles parked in the lot. Eleven NATO trucks and 13 containers carrying supplies were destroyed in what Geo News described as the latest attack in “a series of increasingly sophisticated raids.”
The attack is the sixth such incident in Peshawar in six days. Fourteen NATO trucks and several containers were destroyed in yesterday’s attacks on the Bilal and World Logistic terminals. More than 200 NATO military vehicles and supply trucks were destroyed during three attacks outside of Peshawar on Dec. 7 and 8. More than 230 trucks have been destroyed in the past six days.
The Pakistani government has failed to provide security at the terminals despite three attacks earlier in the week. The government said it would provide troops to guard the NATO convoys in Peshawar, but the Peshawar police and the Frontier Constabulary, a regional police force, both said they lacked the resources to provide security at the 13 truck terminals on the Ring Road.
Daily Times reported the deputy commander of the Frontier Constabulary said “the force did not have additional personnel that could be deployed at NATO terminals” and the force “was mainly entrusted with maintaining law and order, adding current resources did not allow FC deployment for protecting the terminals.”
Yesterday, the senior superintendent of Peshawar police said his men are unable to provide security at the terminals because the police are too busy attempting to secure the city from Taliban attacks. The Taliban have stepped up attacks inside the city even though the military launched two offensives to clear the region of the Taliban since last summer.
NATO and US spokesmen downplayed the attacks earlier this week, with one describing the Taliban’s efforts to choke the supply lines as “militarily insignificant.”
More than 70 percent of NATO supplies destined for Afghanistan move through Peshawar. NATO is seeking alternative routes for its supplies through the former Soviet republics north of Afghanistan. Routes through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan will be ready in eight weeks, NATO sources told Daily Times.
NATO supplies traveling this route will need to pass through Russia, which would place US and NATO forces in Afghanistan at the mercy of the increasingly aggressive Medvedev-Putin regime. Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia last summer, sparking fears of Russian expansionism into the former Soviet republics. The invasion sabotaged Georgia’s bid to join NATO, while European countries put up meager opposition to Russia, fearing energy supplies passing through Russian territory would be cut off.
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