Blast rocks Kyr­gyz cap­i­tal wound­ing 2 cops

The Pak Banker - - 6international -

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

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