Gunmen on motorcycles sprayed small arms fire at a parked US/ NATO fuel convoy near Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan and a long time center for the Old Taliban of Mulla Omar around 6 am Wednesday morning, killing at least one driver and setting ablaze around 20 trucks. The leaping flames threatened to destroy other nearby trucks in the convoy bearing other sorts of supplies. Quetta city only has a handful of fire brigades and they were wholly inadequate to deal with the massive conflagration, and city leaders were calling for help.
This attack on NATO fuel trucks was the fourth since last Thursday, when Pakistani authorities closed the Khyber Pass route to Afghanistan to US/ NATO trucking in retaliation for the attack by US helicopter gunships on a Pakistani Frontier Corps checkpoint near the Afghanistan border. Some 70 percent of supplies for US troops in Afghanistan are trucked into that landlocked nation via Pakistan.
As Pakistani and US authorities investigate the friendly fire incident at the border last Thursday, it has thrown up a video of the attack now published by Dawn newspaper online. US officials had alleged that the pilots of the helicopter gunships believed they had come under fire from the checkpoint, accounting for their firing missiles at it.
Here is Dawn’s video, which does not show that the US helicopters were attacked before they began firing. Dawn charges that it was an unprovoked attack. (It should be remembered that the US helicopters may have been seeking Taliban checkpoints, and might not have been able to tell that these were Pakistani ones).
The continued humanitarian disaster in Pakistan, in the aftermath of unprecedentedly hard rains, has left 20 million affected and some 8 million displaced from their homes.. The United Nations still has only been able to raise a fraction of what Pakistan needs to face the aftermath of the floods. The UN High Commission on Refugees is afraid that if the Pakistan refugees are not taken care of they may be easy recruits to radical organizations, or may simply form an element of instability in a country that is already fragile.