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Uzbek Leader Sees Foreign Hand In Andijon Violence

Uzbek troops on patrol in Andijon following the May violence (file photo) 29 June 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Uzbek President Islam Karimov says he believes the violence in eastern Uzbekistan in May was planned by foreigners outside Uzbekistan months or even years in advance.

Karimov, in Russia for talks with President Vladimir Putin near Moscow, said on 28 June that Uzbek authorities faced a plot orchestrated by outsiders rather than a popular uprising in Andijon.

No comments were available from Karimov on why he believed Uzbekistan, which hosts a U.S. military base, might have been targeted.

In his comments, Putin backed Karimov's suggestion that the Andijon events were planned from abroad, saying Russia had information that militants from Afghanistan had been concentrating in areas bordering Uzbekistan.

Afghanistan's Foreign Ministry has previously rejected such allegations.

Putin added that Russia is satisfied that the situation in Uzbekistan is being brought under control.

Uzbek officials say 176 people, mostly terrorists, were killed in the 13 May violence in Andijon, while rights advocates and witnesses say 500 or more people, mostly civilians, were killed.

(Reuters/AP/AFP/ITAR-TASS, Interfax)

See also:

Detentions Highlight Ongoing Crackdown In Andijon

Voices From Andijon