Granted amnesty by the Uzbek government, Uigun Saidov turned in his Kalashnikov and sat back down at his pottery wheel. \nHe was returning to his Central Asian hometown after years on the run because he was part of an al-Qaeda-linked terror organization that joined the fight against US-led forces in Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban regime. \nDespite the government amnesty, Saidov was unrepentant about the aims of his former comrades-in-arms -- hundreds of whom he said still are hiding in Afghanistan and Pakistan. \n"The Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan is in opposition to the government and its aim is to create an Islamic state," Saidov told reporters. The man, who looks younger than his 33 years, said he still believed in that goal. \nUzbekistan was shaken last week by four days of attacks and explosions that officials say killed at least 47, including 33 alleged terrorists. \nA top anti-terror official has said the attacks were linked to the Wahhabi sect of Islam believed to have inspired Osama bin Laden. In the past, Uzbek officials have used that label when talking about the IMU. \nThe IMU was blamed for an alleged failed assassination attempt on President Islam Karimov in 1999 in which at least 16 others were killed. The organization also has been linked to incursions and kidnappings throughout Central Asia. \nIn Tashkent, the capital, Uzbek Foreign Minister Sadyk Safayev told journalists Sunday that he believed "the backbone of the IMU" had been broken during the anti-terror operations in Afghanistan after the Sept. 11 attacks. But he said "there might be several remnants of the IMU here." He gave no details. \n"As a coordinated, centralized structure, I don't see any serious threat," he said. \nAuthorities have kept Saidov and his family under strict surveillance since his December return. After learning of the amnesty offer, he turned himself in at the Uzbek consulate in Karachi, Pakistan, along with his wife and three young children. \nSaidov's father looked on with distrust as his son spoke to a reporter at the gates of the family's old one-story house in the outskirts of Navoi, 500km south of Tashkent. \nWearing a black-and-green shirt and jogging pants, Saidov began to talk only after a thorough check of his visitors' identification documents. \nHe said he had been trained at an IMU camp in neighboring Tajikistan's Tavildara region -- a former stronghold of the Tajik Islamic opposition that fought the secular government in a mid-1990s civil war. \nLater, he said he was flown to Afghanistan in a military helicopter belonging to Russian troops stationed in Tajikistan. \n"Our leader Juma Namangani had good ties with Russian military," he says. "They supplied us with weapons, clothes and other things." \nThe US military has said Namangani was killed in Afghanistan in late 2001, but no evidence has been publicly shown. Saidov said he did not know whether Namangani was dead or alive. \nHe said, however, that he believed reports last month that Pakistani troops injured the IMU's other top leader, Tahir Yuldash, in the Waziristan area on the Afghan border. \n"He is there," Saidov said, adding that some 500 IMU fighters were still on the loose in Afghanistan and Pakistan. \nHowever, Saidov denied that the IMU was behind the recent Uzbek attacks. \n"I don't know whose hand that was. It's somebody new," he said. \nNearby, another man recently given amnesty after 3 years in an Uzbek prison for allegedly being a Wahhabi also denied involvement of that religious sect.
When Melinda Gates asked her husband, Microsoft Corp cofounder Bill Gates, to let her coauthor the 2013 annual letter about their foundation, the conversation blew up into a fight. “It got hot,” Melinda Gates wrote in her 2019 book The Moment of Lift. “Bill said the process we had for the Annual Letter had been working well for the foundation for years, and he didn’t see why it should change,” she wrote. Ultimately, Bill Gates agreed for her to write a separate piece about contraceptives, while he penned the main letter about the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s work. In the next year’s letter,
Part of a huge rocket that launched China’s first module for its Tianhe space station is falling back to Earth and could make an uncontrolled re-entry at an unknown landing point. The 30m-high core of the Long March 5B rocket on Thursday launched the “Heavenly Harmony” uncrewed core module into low Earth orbit from Wenchang in China’s Hainan Province. The Long March 5B then itself entered a temporary orbit, setting the stage for one of the largest-ever uncontrolled re-entries. Some experts fear it could land on an inhabited area. “It’s potentially not good,” said Jonathan McDowell, astrophysicist at the Astrophysics Center at Harvard
Remnants of China’s largest rocket launched last week were expected to plunge back through the atmosphere late yesterday or early today, a US federally funded space-focused research and development center said. The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that most debris from the rocket would be burned up on re-entry and is highly unlikely to cause any harm, after the US military said that what it called an uncontrolled re-entry was being tracked by US Space Command. In a Twitter post sent on Friday evening in the US, the Aerospace Corporation said that the latest prediction for the re-entry of
PRIORITIZING SECURITY: Australian Senator Matthew Canavan wrote on Twitter that the officials should be helping ‘Aussies in India return home, not jailing them’ Australia yesterday defended its decision to penalize its own citizens entering the country within two weeks of being in COVID-ravaged India, saying that it had a “strong, clear and absolute” belief that the move was legal. Australian Minister of Health Greg Hunt pointed to the alarming surge of COVID-19 cases in India and the pressure on Australia’s healthcare system as reasons to pause travel until Saturday next week. Australia’s quarantine hotels have seen a 1,500 percent spike in COVID-19 cases from India since March, raising questions about pre-departure testing in India and leading to this “agonizing decision,” Hunt said. “It’s a high-risk situation