This account sharply contradicts the claim of Uzbekistan’s prosecutor general, made yesterday, that not one civilian had been killed. Rashid Kadyrov said that 169 had died, all “terrorists”, apart from 30 soldiers, three women and two children who were among hostages killed by the rebels.
The developments came after Condoleeza Rice, the US Secretary of State, repeated her call for the need for openness and reform in country after meeting Jack Straw, the Foreign Secretary, in Washington.
The unrest, sparked by the trial of 23 Muslim businessmen, was blamed by President Islam Karimov on Islamic extremists. Residents and a local human rights activist said the uprising was prompted by local people protesting against poverty, corruption and Mr Karimov’s hard line against Muslims.
As the grieving citizens of Andijan continued the grisly task of burying the dead, more families were coming forward to claim that loved ones had been hunted down and killed in a mopping-up operation by military death squads.
From five funerals visited by The Independent held in private homes for fear of the security forces still flooding the city in three cases the relatives said that the bodies had gunshot wounds to the head. In two cases, they claimed, the corpses showed gunshot wounds to the body and a single shot to the back of the head.
Eyewitnesses, rights activists and local doctors have claimed that up to 700 were killed in Andijan and across the Ferghana valley but that the death toll could climb higher. ~The Independent
The silence from Washington, aside from the weak complaints emanating from the State Department, is simply disgusting. The U.S. government is “concerned” and condemns the wanton killing of civilians–what a profound, moral stand! I am waiting for the great neocon humanitarians, who could not restrain themselves from mocking opponents of the Iraq war or opponents of intervention in Sudan on the grounds of our supposed inhumanity and lack of “moral clarity,” to speak up in defense of the slaughtered civilians killed by their dictator ally’s thugs. I suspect I will be waiting forever. It does not require one to advocate killing still more people (the usual neocon answer to brutality, or anything else for that matter) to denounce decisively and clearly the appalling acts of another government, whether it is allied to our government or not. The government should at the very least recall our ambassador from Tashkent and should sever diplomatic relations with Uzbekistan. Islam Karimov has become a liability and he is an ally we do not need and should not want to have.
Update: The U.S. Embassy in Uzbekistan’s website contains no statement about this week’s events. The name Andijan (or Andizhan) is nowhere to be found. I somehow seem to remember our Kyrgyzstan embassy being a bit quicker in issuing a statement in response to the events in Bishkek, but then it helps when the dictator isn’t yours and the “revolution” has been helped along by your government.