At least six people have been killed and seven injured after a Nato convoy was attacked just outside Pakistan’s capital, Islamabad.
Up to 12 fighters fired machine guns and threw grenades before torching more than 50 lorries carrying military vehicles for Nato forces in Afghanistan late on Tuesday, Kalim Imam, a police officer, said.
The raid occurred in Tarnol, about 10km from Islamabad, on the main road leading to the border with Afghanistan.
It was the first so close to Pakistan’s well-protected capital.
Imam said six people were killed and seven wounded, but their identities were not yet known.
He said police were not aware that the rest stop was used by vehicles carrying supplies for Nato and US forces in Afghanistan.
“The attack took place around 11.35pm [1835 GMT] and we are still trying to find out how this attack has happened,” Shah Nawaz, head of Tarnol police station, said.
Much of the supplies and fuel for the US-led force in landlocked Afghanistan are transported in lorries through Pakistan after arriving on ships docked at the Arabian Sea port of Karachi.
Thousands of lorries make the journey across the border each week, making it a lucrative business for lorry drivers, but angering Pakistanis opposed to foreign involvement in Afghanistan.
Imtiaz Gul, a security analyst in Pakistan, told Al Jazeera it was probably carried out by Pakistani Taliban fighters who have made a habit of targeting Nato convoys.
“Until a few months ago, Afghanistan-bound vehicles had been transiting through the city of Peshawar,” Gul said.
“They still do but following a couple of hundred attacks and the torching of several hundred containers, the transporters decided to relocate the parking and overnight stops closer to Islamabad.
“We are told the terminals they use for parking didn’t have enough security. It would be very difficult and expensive for the US to find a different route to Afghanistan.”
Fighters with bases along the remote Afghan border in Pakistan’s northwest regularly attack government and security force targets.
On Tuesday, the Pakistani Taliban staged a public execution in front of hundreds of tribesmen in North Waziristan, underscoring the level of control armed groups have there.
Pakistani officials say a Taliban-appointed court convicted a man of killing two others.
After the ruling, the Taliban reportedly paraded the man on a football field in Miran Shah before a brother of his alleged victims shot him.