PESHAWAR: Gunmen in the outskirts of Peshawar Tuesday attacked a container truck carrying supplies to Nato troops in Afghanistan, killing the driver, officials said.
It is the first such attack since Pakistan reopened its border to Nato supply convoys three weeks ago after a seven-month blockade staged in protest at a botched US air raid that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers at a border post.
Tuesday's attack took place near the market in Jamrud town on the outskirts of Peshawar, the main city in the troubled northwest, local administration official Bakhtiar Khan said.
“Two armed men riding on a motorbike opened fire on a container carrying supplies for Nato troops across the border and killed its driver,” Khan told AFP, adding that the driver's helper was seriously wounded.
Another administration official said the truck was part of a convoy of three or four vehicles travelling without security protection when they came under attack.
A hospital official in Jamrud confirmed the casualties.
“The driver was shifted to our hospital in serious condition, he died later,” doctor Azam Khan of the state-run Jamrud hospital told AFP.
He received one bullet in the head and two in the chest, he added.
No one has claimed responsibility of the attack as yet.
However, the Pakistani Taliban had threatened earlier to attack the supply trucks and kill its drivers if they tried to resume supplies to troops in Afghanistan, and right-wing and extremist religious groups have held large demonstrations against the resumption of supply lines.
Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan had told AFP that the Taliban “will not allow any truck to pass and will attack it,” hours after Pakistan confirmed it had decided to reopen vital Nato supply routes into Afghanistan which have been closed since November.
“We will not only attack the supply truck but will also kill the drivers (of Nato supply trucks),” Ehsan had said.
Pakistan on July 3 decided to reopen overland routes to Nato convoys crossing into Afghanistan, after US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said sorry for the air strike deaths last November.
The crisis was the worst episode in Pakistan's decade-long partnership with Washington in the war in Afghanistan, with both sides still struggling to overcome a breakdown in trust.
So far relatively few Nato trucks have actually trickled across the border, with owners awaiting a deal on compensation for seven months' missed work and security guarantees in the southern port city of Karachi.
The convoy attack came a day after a US drone attack on a compound in the northwest killed at least 10 militants, according to officials -- the first drone strike in the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan.
There has been a dramatic increase in US drone strikes in Pakistan since May when a Nato summit in Chicago could not strike a deal to end the blockade on NATO supplies travelling to Afghanistan.
Washington considers Pakistan's northwestern tribal belt the main hub of Taliban and al Qaeda militants plotting attacks on the West and in Afghanistan.