"A police team arrived after about an hour and an exchange of fire took place for an hour."

Sixteen bulldozers and Humvee patrol vehicles were destroyed, Khan said.

String of attacks

A day earlier, Taliban fighters torched eight lorries in another attack on Nato supply vehicles.

A dozen more lorries and trailers were also damaged when the fighters, armed with automatic weapons and rockets, attacked a terminal on the outskirts of Peshawar city.

Nato and the US-led forces in Afghanistan are hugely dependent on Pakistan for their supplies and equipment, with an estimated 80 per cent of these transported by land from Pakistan.

But fighters in the tribal area have staged a number of attacks in recent months on Nato supply depots outside Peshawar, torching hundreds of vehicles and containers destined for foreign troops in Afghanistan.