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Taliban travel from Afghanistan to Uzbekistan for talks

In a rare diplomatic foray and the strongest sign yet of the Taliban's increasing political presence in the region, the head of the militant group's political office led a delegation to Uzbekistan to meet senior Foreign Ministry officials, Uzbek and Taliban officials said Saturday. Taliban political chief Sher Mohammad Abbas Stanikzai represented the insurgents in the four-day talks that ended Friday and included meetings with Uzbekistan's Foreign Minister Abdulaziz Kamilov as well as its special representative to…

Stockholm truck attacker pleads guilty as trial opens

STOCKHOLM: An Uzbek asylum seeker who confessed to wanting to mow down "infidels" in an April 2017 Stockholm truck attack that killed five people pleaded guilty to terrorism charges on Tuesday as his trial opened. Rakhmat Akilov appeared handcuffed in Stockholm's special high-security courtroom, wearing green prison clothes and with a shaved head and a beard, accompanied by his lawyer Johan Eriksson. Akilov, whose Swedish asylum application had been rejected in 2016, had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State (IS) group…

52 people killed in Kazakhstan bus fire

ASTANA: Fifty-two people were killed Thursday when the Russia-bound bus they were travelling on caught fire in Kazakhstan, the central Asian nation's emergency services ministry said. "On January 18 at 10:30 am (0430 GMT), a bus caught fire ... 55 passengers and two drivers were on board. Five people who managed to escape are receiving medical assistance. The rest died on the spot," the ministry said, without elaborating on the cause of the blaze. All those who died are believed to be Uzbek nationals, an interior…

Trump vows to terminate US green card lottery after New York attack

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he would end the popular US green card lottery after a radicalized Uzbek man who entered the country under the program killed eight people in New York. "I am starting the process of terminating the diversity lottery program," Trump told reporters. "We have to do what's right to protect our citizens," he told reporters. "We will get rid of this lottery program as soon as possible." The 1990 program awards US permanent resident visas to around 50,000 applicants…

New York attacker linked to IS, ‘radicalized domestically’

NEW YORK: The pickup truck driver who plowed down a New York cycle path, killing eight people, in the city's worst attack since September 11, was associated with the Islamic State group but "radicalized domestically," the state's governor said on Wednesday. The driver, identified as Uzbek national named Sayfullo Saipov, mowed down pedestrians and cyclists over a mile-long stretch of the bike path Tuesday in an exclusive neighborhood of Lower's Manhattan's West Side, where children and their parents were preparing to…

Stockholm attack suspect admits to ‘terror crime’

STOCKHOLM: Suspected Stockholm truck attacker Rakhmat Akilov, a 39-year-old Uzbek, admitted on Tuesday to committing a "terrorist crime" by mowing down pedestrians on a busy street, killing four people and injuring 15 others. "Akilov confesses to a terrorist crime and accepts his custody detention," his lawyer Johan Eriksson told a custody hearing in a Stockholm district court. Arrested in a Stockholm suburb just hours after Friday's attack, Akilov appeared in a special heavily-guarded high-security courtroom. Handcuffed…

Feared Uzbek jihadists behind deadly Karachi airport attack

ISLAMABAD: In a commando-style attack carried out with military precision, militants wearing Pakistani uniforms burst into the country's busiest airport under cover of darkness in one of the most audacious attacks in Pakistan in years. Pakistani military officials said the attackers were ethnic Uzbeks who operate under the wings of the Pakistani Taliban in bases dotted around the lawless areas straddling Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. Uzbek jihadists are a particularly feared force. They are believed to number no more…