A bomb destroyed 22 fuel tankers and trailers carrying NATO supplies in the northern Afghan province of Samangan today. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahed said the guerrilla movement planted the device.
The vehicles’ drivers were sleeping as the explosion set the North Atlantic Treaty Organization convoy ablaze at about 2 a.m. local time, Siddiq Azizi, the spokesman for the province’s governor, said by phone. The tankers had arrived from Mazar-e- Sharif after crossing the border from the central Asian nation of Uzbekistan, he said.
Martyn Crichton, a spokesman for the U.S.-led International Security Force in Afghanistan, said police were investigating the attack on what he said were civilian tankers.
Pakistan this month allowed supplies to be transported across its border with Afghanistan, seven months after routes were closed to protest the November killing of 24 Pakistani troops by U.S. helicopters in a nighttime strike.
The closing of the supply routes forced the U.S. and NATO to send more material and equipment from the north, through Central Asia, at an added cost that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta estimated at about $100 million a month.
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