Taliban insurgents on Saturday set fire to about 200 oil tanker trucks carrying fuel for U.S.-led NATO forces in an attack just outside the Afghan capital, Kabul, police said.
The attack comes amid increased violence ahead of the scheduled U.S. military pullout in 2015, when troops will gradually leave the country and hand over control of combat missions to Afghan forces. By 2016, fewer than 1,000 supporting crew will remain behind. The incident heightens fears that Afghanistan could devolve into another Iraq-like situation if the violence continues unabated.
Television footage showed black smoke billowing above the site, with the charred wreckage of dozens of trucks scattered around a vast parking space.
The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which was apparently related to the group’s vow to disrupt the country’s election process.
It was unclear how the fire was started. Some Afghan media reported that insurgents fired rockets at the tankers late on Friday. There was no immediate report of casualties.
"The number of tankers on fire is not yet clear, but based on preliminary reports from police around 200 tankers have been burned," the Interior Ministry said in a news release.
Afghanistan is preparing, amid tension, to announce preliminary results of the final round of a presidential election on Monday. Both of the candidates vying to succeed President Hamid Karzai has accused the other of mass fraud.
The Taliban have vowed to disrupt the election process. On Thursday, fighters fired rockets into Kabul's international airport, destroying a helicopter.