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Second attack on NATO convoy in Pakistan

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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) -- Assailants in Pakistan launched two separate attacks Friday on vehicles carrying fuel for NATO and American forces in Afghanistan, highlighting the vulnerability of the U.S.-led mission a day after Pakistan closed a major border crossing.

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A truck driver and his assistant were burned alive in the second attack on a single tanker in the parking lot of a restaurant in southeastern Baluchistan province, said police officer Mohammad Azam. He said "anti-state elements" were behind the attack.

That term could refer to Islamist militants, separatist rebels active in the region or even common criminals.

Earlier today, suspected Islamist militants torched 27 tankers carrying oil for troops in Afghanistan in Sindh province.

Around 80 percent of the fuel, spare parts, clothing and other non-lethal supplies for foreign forces in landlocked Afghanistan travels through Pakistan after arriving in the southern Arabian sea port of Karachi. The alliance has other supply routes to Afghanistan, but the Pakistani ones are the cheapest and most convenient.

The Pakistani government shut one of the two border crossings into Afghanistan on Thursday in apparent protest of a NATO helicopter incursion that killed three of its soldiers on the border. The events raised tensions between Pakistan and the United States, which have a close but often troubled alliance in the fight against militants.

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