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Kyrgyz crack down on Islamists

 
 
 
 
 
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Security personnel walk on the site of a military operation in the village of Besh-Kungei outside Bishkek.

The new government of Kyrgyzstan has launched a crackdown on militants it claims are linked to extreme Islamic groups.

Two suspected terrorists were killed and another was captured in a gunfight in Bishkek, the capital of the former Soviet Republic.

“This is a religious extremist group whose activists and leaders were trained in specialised camps in Pakistan and Afghanistan,” Marat Imankulov, the first deputy chairman of the country’s State National Security Committee said after the fighting.

“They are adherents of radical persuasions and the brains behind the group aim to create a caliphate on the territory of the Ferghana valley.”

Kyrgyz authorities claimed the men were members of the Islamic Jihad Union, a group linked to bombings at the US embassy in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and planned attacks in Germany.

The group, who Kyrgyz police claim were planning attacks on Western targets, killed three police officers on January 4, after they were stopped for a “routine” document check.

Kyrgyz authorities are also blaming the group for a November 30 bomb blast in the National Sports Stadium, which was being used as a makeshift courtroom for members of the regime of former President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who was toppled last April.

The crackdown follows a concerted anti-militant drive in neighbouring Tajikistan, which has seen 33 insurgents killed, including, this week Aloviddin Davlatov, a warlord Tajik authorities link to al Qaeda, the multinational militant group

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