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NATO's Afghanistansupply lines attacked

ABOUT 150 militants armed with rockets and automatic weapons yesterday attacked a transport terminal in northwestern Pakistan that lies along a key supply route used by the United States and NATO troops, wounding three guards and torching eight cement trucks, police said.

Militants in Pakistan frequently attack cargo terminals and other stops used by vehicles taking supplies to Western troops in Afghanistan through the Khyber Pass.

Scores of trucks have been damaged and several people have died, adding urgency to US efforts to find safer supply routes.

The latest attack started about 2am on the outskirts of the main northwestern city of Peshawar, local police officer Gharibullah Khan said.

"They fired rockets and used automatic weapons and torched at least eight trailers carrying cement," he said.

A gunbattle at the scene wounded three guards, one of whom was in critical condition, according to Khan.

Also yesterday, a government official said captors had freed Satish Anand, a renowned filmmaker kidnapped about six months ago in the southern city of Karachi.

Kidnappings have increased in parts of Pakistan as the security situation deteriorated. Some of the money from the criminal enterprise is believed to help fund the insurgency.

Anand is a member of Muslim-majority Pakistan's small Hindu community and the uncle of Bollywood star Juhi Chawla. He owns a large studio that makes feature films and TV soap operas.

Sharfuddin Memon, the head of the Citizens' Police Liasion Committee, would not say if a random was paid for his release in Bannu, a district in Pakistan's northwest, but the groups involved had links to tribal regions in northwestern Pakistan, where al-Qaida and the Taliban have strongholds.

"The groups include both the extremists and the criminals," Memon said.


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