The Taliban said it detonated a bomb on a fuel tanker on Wednesday and then opened fire on other NATO supply trucks in a morning attack that destroyed 22 vehicles loaded with fuel and other goods for U.S.-led coalition forces in Afghanistan.

The Taliban said it attacked NATO supply trucks parked overnight in the Rabatak area of Samangan.

“We put explosives on a fuel tanker. When it exploded, we fired on the trucks,” Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid told The Associated Press in a telephone call.

Sidiq Azizi, a spokesman for the province, said many tankers and semi-trailers caught fire after the bomb went off around 2 a.m.

By mid-day, heavy black smoke still poured from the area where the truckers had stopped to rest. Firefighters were spraying water on the burning vehicles.

“I counted 20 fuel tankers burning. There is still a very big fire,” said Mr. Azizi, who was at the scene. “The weather is very hot and it’s hard to get close to the fire.”

The tankers in the convoy were transporting fuel south toward the Afghan capital, Kabul, from neighbouring Uzbekistan to the north.

Earlier this week, three NATO supply trucks were destroyed by militants in Sayd Abad district of Wardak province in eastern Afghanistan.

Convoy traffic in the east has gotten heavier since Pakistan reopened its border crossings about two weeks ago.

Islamabad blocked NATO supply trucks for seven months in retaliation for U.S. airstrikes that killed 24 Pakistani soldiers.

Elsewhere in the country, two NATO service members were killed in a roadside bombing on Wednesday in the east, while another died on Tuesday in a militant attack in the south.

A NATO helicopter crashed in the west, injuring two other service members. And Afghan officials said nine Afghan soldiers died on Tuesday night when militants attacked a checkpoint in the south.

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