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Militants in Pakistan attack supply trucks bound for Afghanistan

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Pakistan convoy attacks
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • NEW: Two attacks damage trucks and kill two people
  • Militants use petrol bombs to damage 25 trucks
  • About half of U.S. cargo comes into Afghanistan via Pakistan, Pentagon says
  • Torkham Gate remains closed
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Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Attacks in Pakistan on trucks carrying fuel for NATO troops in Afghanistan damaged about two dozen trucks and killed two people Friday, authorities said.

Militants torched dozens of supply trucks in the southern Pakistani province of Sindh Friday morning, police said. No one was hurt, but 25 of 27 trucks were damaged, officials said.

On Friday night, attackers with automatic weapons struck a NATO supply truck, killing two people and damaging contents, Pakistani police said.

Saeed Ahmed, a senior police official in the Khuzdar district of Baluchistan, said the truck was apparently separated from a convoy heading to Afghanistan.

The Friday morning attack took place in the Shikarpur district when four militants used fire crackers and petrol bombs to damage the trucks, said Muhammad Hanif, a senior police official in the district.

The trucks carry crude, diesel and petrol for NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, NATO convoys were still barred Friday from going into Afghanistan through the Torkham Gate checkpoint.

The supply route to Afghanistan has been closed by the Pakistani government after fighting that led to the deaths of three Pakistani soldiers, and a military spokesman said Thursday that United States is hopeful the situation is only temporary.

Pakistan banned NATO supply convoys from entering Afghanistan after the deaths of the three soldiers, whom the government says were killed in Pakistani territory during fighting between NATO troops and militants, according to a military official from the NATO-led command in Afghanistan.

Lt. Col. John Dorrian, an ISAF spokesman, said the Torkham Gate in the Khyber Agency has been closed since about midday on Thursday. Chaman Gate, the other border crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan, remains open.

"We don't think it's a very serious problem," Dorrian said. "It's a throroughfare we use a lot so it is significant. But we can work around it."

"We do expect these matters to be resolved."

Supply convoys are all-important for the Afghan war effort, and officials from NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) were trying to persuade Pakistan to lift the ban. Coalition forces rely heavily on convoys from Pakistan to bring in supplies and gear.

Torkham Gate is one of the main ports of entry for material coming into the war zone. But it is not the only way of getting supplies in. Khyber Agency is one of the seven districts in Pakistan's tribal region.

About half the cargo that flows into Afghanistan comes in via one of the two gates from Pakistan, the Defense Department says.

Another 30 percent uses two major routes through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, one via Russia and the other via the Caucasus. The remaining 20 percent -- mostly sensitive items like weapons, ammunition and other critical equipment -- comes in by air.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen and Nasir Habib contributed to this report.