Blast rocks Kyrgyz capital wounding 2 cops
BISHKEK: An explosion rocked the center of Kyrgyzstan's capital Tuesday ahead of a visit by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, slightly wounding two police officers, a day after security forces battled Islamic militants in a restive southern city.
Security officials said the attacks appear to be part of systemic attempt to foment turbulence in the Central Asian nation by means of an Islamistinspired terror campaign.
Authorities said the explosion took place in the early morning outside the venue of a high-profile trial against top officials of the recently deposed government.
The blast, which formed a deep crater in the road, was set off outside an entrance used by defendants in the trial.
The Health Ministry said two police officers were lightly injured.
Clinton is due to travel to the country Thursday. Her visit comes amid U.S. attempts to buttress stability in the troubled former Soviet nation, which hosts a key air transit facility used a jumping-off point for troops traveling to and from nearby Afghanistan.
Tensions are high in the Central Asian nation amid sensitive political bargaining over the formation of a new government and renewed violence in the restive south.
Clashes between security forces and Islamic militants broke out Monday in the city of Osh. Officials said the militants were planning a series of terrorist attacks in the country.
Three insurgents were shot and killed by government forces during the gunbattle, while another militant blew himself up, officials said. -Ap