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Attacks Leave 11 Dead in Pakistan, Afghanistan

  • Ayaz Gul

A medevac helicopter lifts off from Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, carrying an unidentified NATO soldier on 9 June 2010

A medevac helicopter lifts off from Camp Nathan Smith in Kandahar city, carrying an unidentified NATO soldier on 9 June 2010

An attack on a NATO helicopter in neighboring Afghanistan and a militant raid in neighboring Pakistan that targeted a convoy carrying supplies for the NATO forces have left at least 11 people dead, including four international troops.

NATO officials say that one of their military helicopters was brought down by insurgent fire in Helmand Province in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban militants have a strong presence. The four soldiers died in the attack are identified as Americans.

Afghan officials say the aircraft was flying at low altitude to give air support to ground troops in the Sangin district when a rocket-propelled grenade hit it.

Insurgent attacks have killed at least 18 international troops in Afghanistan since Monday.

Meanwhile, authorities in neighboring Pakistan are searching for at least a dozen suspected militants who attacked and destroyed more than 50 trucks transporting supplies to NATO forces stationed in Afghanistan. Police say the attack left at least seven people dead, mostly drivers.

Top Pakistani officials allege private contractors were transporting fuel and other supplies to NATO forces without proper security and knowledge of the authorities.

Federal Interior Minister Rehman Malik said the incident is under investigation and the government has ordered a review of the strategy for the movement of convoys carrying supplies for the NATO forces.

"I think NATO force must have their security tools in place because as per my understanding all these goods, which go to Afghanistan via Pakistan, the security rests with the private contractors of the NATO and I hope that is taken care of," said Malik. "However, we will be suggesting our own measures, which need to be taken and once the recommendations come we will share it with NATO as to how to make more safe supply of goods to the NATO forces."

More than 70 percent of supplies for NATO forces land in Pakistan's southern port city of Karachi before they are transported by road to the international forces in Afghanistan. Taliban militants have frequently targeted these convoys, but the Tuesday incident is the first such attack to have taken place close to the Pakistani capital city.