16 killed in Pakistan after NATO oil tanker explodes

A remotely-detonated bomb caused a NATO oil tanker to explode Saturday morning in Pakistan’s volatile tribal region, killing 16 people – including 5 children.
Pakistani officials suspected Taliban militants were the culprits, considering they regularly carry out attacks on NATO supply convoys near the AfPak border.
Shafeer Ullah Khan, a top government official of Khyber Agency, told CNN the bomb was planted underneath the tanker and was set off when the truck was about 5 miles east of the Afghan border.
Khan said the 16 people in the area were killed when they approached the tanker to siphon off some fuel that had leaked when the truck first caught fire, but as they drew near the lethal explosion occurred.
Pakistan’s International News reported that the incident took place in the Khugakhel area on the Landikotal bypass and said the bomb was ignited by a timing device.
6 of the victims died immediately while the other 10 succumbed to their injuries after being rushed to the hospital.
Just minutes after the initial blast 14 other NATO tankers exploded in the nearby border town of Torkham, but no injuries or deaths were reported.
The German Press Agency dpa reported that around 80% of NATO supplies are transported to Afghanistan via Pakistan with two-thirds of those shipments crossing the border from Balochistan, and the remainder from Khyber.
But, according to The Washington Post, U.S. and NATO commanders insisted such attacks barely impact their operations. In recent years they’ve tried to reduce their dependence on Pakistani supply routes by using roads running through other Central Asian countries and relying on air supply.
Due to recent tensions between U.S. and Pakistan because of the Navy SEAL Osama bin Laden raid and the CIA drone program in Pakistan’s tribal areas, some have insinuated that Pakistan could cut-off NATO supply lines as a retaliatory measure.
Former Pakistani spy chief Hamid Gul boasted in a recent interview that by choking off these supply routes Pakistan can turn Afghanistan into a graveyard for U.S. troops.

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