Taliban attacks NATO trucking terminal in Peshawar

A Taliban rocket attack on a trucking terminal in Peshawar has destroyed more than 20 NATO trucks and set part of the terminal ablaze.

A Taliban force of more than 40 fighters entered the Pak-Afghan Container Terminal “scaled the back wall of the compound and tied up the guards,” Dawn reported. The Taliban fighters lobbed petrol bombs and launched RPGs at the trucks and containers.

The fire, described as an “inferno” by Geo News, “is getting more and more difficult to control” due to the “intensity” of the flames. It is unknown if further vehicles or shipping containers are in danger of being destroyed. Dawn reported that dozens of containers and trucks have been destroyed.

The early Sunday morning attack in Peshawar is the first major strike against NATO’s supply lines through northwestern Pakistan since the Feb. 3 attack in the Jamrud region in the Khyber tribal agency. The Taliban bombed a vital bridge spanning a dry river bed. The bridge was nearly destroyed and traffic was halted for more than a week until the route could be reopened.

The attack in Jamrud forced the government to shut down the route for the sixth time since September 2008. Some Pakistani truckers have refused to travel through Peshawar and Khyber as the security situation has deteriorated.

There have been multiple attacks on NATO truck terminals along Peshawar’s Ring Road. More than 450 NATO vehicles and containers have been destroyed in a series of attacks on shipping terminals in Peshawar as well as attacks on convoys moving through the region. During several bold attacks over the course of two days in early December 2008, an estimated force of 300 to 400 Taliban fighters destroyed more than 200 vehicles and shipping containers.

NATO’s most vital resupply route for its forces in Afghanistan stretches from the Pakistani port city of Karachi to Peshawar, then through the Khyber Pass to Kabul. More than 70 percent of NATO supplies and 40 percent of its fuel moves through Peshawar.

Taliban commander Hakeemullah Mehsud has been leading operations against NATO’s supply lines in Khyber and Peshawar. Hakeemullah is a senior lieutenant of Pakistani Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and the cousin of Qari Hussain, the notorious Taliban commander who trains child suicide bombers in South Waziristan.

Hakeemullah has become an influential leader in Pakistan’s Taliban movement. He also commands the Taliban in the Kurram and Arakzai tribal agencies. He declared sharia, or Islamic law, in Arakzai in January 2009. In Khyber, Hakeemullah has rivaled the Lashkar-e-Islam for control.

The government and military have launched several offensives to drive out the Taliban in Peshawar and Khyber, but Pakistanis living in the area say the efforts have been unsuccessful.

The military claimed that Peshawar has been freed from a Taliban siege, but a recent series of deadly attacks against police stations and outposts in the city and surrounding areas indicates the Taliban still have a grip on the region.

The growing Taliban insurgency in the Northwest Frontier Province coupled with the assault on the supply lines has forced NATO to seek alternative supply routes into Pakistan. In Late January, NATO secured an agreement with Russia to allow supplies to pass through the Central Asian republics. NATO officials have said its members could use Iranian routes to resupply its forces, while the US is also exploring the possibility of establishing routes through Iran.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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6 Comments

  • Marlin says:

    When you read this report you wonder why they don’t have better security? There is no reason in the world to expect that Taliban won’t come at every opportunity. You’d think NATO would require the Pakistani’s to provide better protection.

    About 40 assailants struck the Pak-Afghan Container Terminal near the northwestern city of Peshawar before dawn Sunday, police and witnesses said.
    Mohammad Asif Khan, an assistant to a driver whose truck was parked at the terminal, said armed men scaled the back wall of the compound and tied up the guards.
    ‘I was hiding in a corner, and I saw them throw petrol bombs and fire rockets and shots at the parked vehicles,’ he said.

    Dawn: Afghan Nato supply terminal attacked in Pakistan

  • Marlin says:

    You almost have to laugh. How could a credible security force not inflict or receive some casualties if a serious effort was made to engage with the Taliban?

    Following an exchange of fire, the Taliban escaped. There were no casualties. The AFP news agency, however, reported that two truck drivers were injured in the attack.

    Daily Times: Taliban attack NATO logistics terminal

  • Marlin says:

    You really have to wonder when a successful raid is able to be conducted for a second day in a row and there is apparently no effort put up by the security guards again.

    The attack early Monday was the second on Afghan-bound military supplies in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar in as many days. A security guard at the al-Fasil terminal on the outskirts of the city says up to 50 armed people entered the terminal. He says they threw gasoline over 10 container trucks carrying supplies and then set off explosions.

    Geo TV: US, NATO supplies attacked in Peshawar

  • Marlin says:

    Timely response from the police is always helpful too.

    ‘About 50 gunmen attacked us … They first disarmed us and then began setting fire to bulldozers and humvees,’ one of he depot’s guards, Raza Khan, told Reuters.
    ‘A police team arrived after about an hour and an exchange of fire took place for an hour,”

  • Render says:

    All together now, repeat after me…
    “there is no MSR, there is no MSR.”
    CLICK
    YER
    HEELS,
    R

  • Midnight says:

    At the risk of overturning the applecart, one might go so far as to say that democracy is working in a Muslim country, the government in place by vote has its problems that seem to be getting responsible answers from the people in true democratic form. Like the states the gov. has to overcome natural disaster, political rivalry, and international pressures, the USA hunted without permission they now have some similitude of permission, to say they cannot control them is foolish when they still carry half of the weight of our war on terror in Afghanistan and Karzai wants more, more, more.
    My suggestion, let them have some time to grow and make decisions, it is becoming oppression, looks bad to the eyes of the world. Hate grows for generations. ONE MANS DEFINITION OF HELP IS NOT NECESSARILY ANOTHER MANS DEFINITION.
    Thank you

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