The Pakistani Taliban has taken responsibility for the attack [Reuters]

Armed men have attacked tankers carrying fuel for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan as they sat parked at a roadside restaurant in southwestern Pakistan, officials say.

The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, in which 14 vehicles were set ablaze on Saturday.

The attack took place in the Dera Murad Jamali area of Balochistan province, according to Fatteh Mohammed, a local government official.

The vehicles were likely headed to the Pakistan-Afghanistan border crossing in the town of Chaman.

Akbar Hussain Durani, the home secretary of Balochistan, said 136 NATO tankers were destroyed in 56 such attacks in the province last year. In all, 34 people have been killed, and 23 wounded, in attacks on the supply route, he said.

Tankers targeted

Azam Tariq, a spokesman for the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan, said the group was behind Saturday's attack, which he said involved eight fighters.

"We have assigned our fighters to go after NATO supply tankers wherever in Pakistan," Tariq told The Associated Press news agency via telephone.

"We want to make very, very difficult all land routes for NATO in Pakistan."

US officials have previously insisted that the attacks on NATO supplies in Pakistan have little or no impact on International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) operations in Afghanistan.

On average, 3,000 US and NATO supply lorries operate in Pakistan on any given day. The US embassy in Islamabad says that up to 80 per cent of non-lethal supplies were transported through Pakistan three years ago, but that figure fell to 40 per cent last year. 

Source: Agencies