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News About Central Asia
June 23, 2017
Airport in Kazakh capital renamed after president
Astana, Kazakhstan (AFP) June 21, 2017
The airport in oil-rich Kazakhstan's capital Astana has been renamed after long-reigning President Nursultan Nazarbayev, state media reported Wednesday, citing a government resolution that will fuel accusations of a leadership cult. According to the directive published in the state-owned Kazakhstanskaya Pravda newspaper, the resolution to change the name of Astana International Airport is effective immediately. The apparent personality cult surrounding Nazarbayev has grown significantly during t ... read more

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Military Space News, Nuclear Weapons, Missile Defense
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US watchdog decries pricey woodland uniforms for Afghan army
The Pentagon wasted millions of dollars buying the Afghan army a woodland camouflage uniform that was apparently chosen on a whim and may have made soldiers easier to spot, a US government watchdog said Wednesday. ... more
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Four dead as suicide bombers hit Kabul Shiite mosque
Suicide bombers struck a crowded Shiite mosque in Kabul late Thursday, killing four people in the latest in a series of militant attacks to rattle the Afghan capital during the holy month of Ramadan. ... more
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China to help Pakistan probe 'preaching' by kidnapped citizens
China said Wednesday it will cooperate with Pakistani authorities to investigate whether two Chinese citizens who were allegedly killed by the Islamic State group in Pakistan had been illegally preaching. ... more
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Mattis vows not to repeat past mistakes in Afghanistan
US Defense Secretary Jim Mattis has vowed that the Trump administration will not repeat the "mistakes of the past" in Afghanistan, after the president signaled a desire to give the Pentagon wide latitude in setting warfighting policy. ... more
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Trump lets Pentagon set Afghanistan troop levels: US official
President Donald Trump has granted the Pentagon authority to set troop levels in Afghanistan, a US official said Tuesday, a move that could lead to the deployment of thousands more soldiers. ... more
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US 'not winning' in Afghanistan: Pentagon chief
Pentagon chief Jim Mattis told exasperated lawmakers Tuesday that America still is "not winning" in Afghanistan, as US military commanders push for additional troops to help stabilize the country's security crisis. ... more
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Iraq PM Abadi says Kurdish referendum untimely
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday said he understood the Kurdish minority's statehood aspirations but bemoaned its leadership's decision to hold an independence referendum in September. ... more
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Journey to statehood still long for Iraq Kurds
Many Iraqi Kurds hailed last week's announcement of a September referendum on independence as historic, but major obstacles will remain on the path to statehood after an expected landslide "yes". ... more

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War-torn Kabul becomes a protected site for migratory birds
A rare Afghan marsh that was once a royal hunting ground is set to come under the official protection of the UN environment agency, with the aim of saving hundreds of migratory bird species. ... more
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Iran opposes Iraqi Kurdish independence vote
Iran voiced its opposition on Saturday to an announcement by Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region that it will organise a vote on independence later this year. ... more
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Three US soldiers killed in Afghan 'insider attack'
Three US troops were killed and another wounded during a joint operation in Afghanistan's eastern Nangarhar province Saturday, the Pentagon said, in the latest so-called insider attack on international forces. ... more
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IS claims killing two Chinese in southwest Pakistan
The Islamic State group on Thursday claimed the killing of two Chinese citizens who were kidnapped last month by armed gunmen in southwestern Pakistan's restive Balochistan province. ... more
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Kurdish referendum would distract from IS fight, US warns
The United States on Thursday warned that a decision by Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region to hold an independence referendum could distract from the fight against the Islamic State group. ... more
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Pakistani forces 'kill dozen IS fighters' in raid: officials
Pakistani forces on Sunday said they had killed around a dozen Islamic State militants in a three-day raid prompted by intelligence reports that the group were holding two recently kidnapped Chinese nationals. ... more
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Kabul to host peace summit after week of deadly violence
Kabul will host a multinational peace conference on Afghanistan Tuesday, as the capital reels from a wave of bombings and clashes last week that left more than 100 people dead and hundreds wounded. ... more
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China condemns couple's kidnapping in Pakistan
China condemned on Thursday the armed kidnapping of a Chinese couple in Pakistan, after the abduction raised safety concerns for Beijing's multi-billion dollar investments in the country. ... more

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Two Chinese nationals kidnapped in Pakistan
Two Chinese working in Pakistan were kidnapped Wednesday, local police and China's state media said, an attack which could raise safety concerns for Beijing's multi-billion dollar investments in the country. ... more
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Taliban attack on Afghan army base kills 10 soldiers
At least 10 Afghan soldiers were killed when Taliban militants stormed their army base in the southern province of Kandahar, officials said Tuesday, in the latest attack on Western-backed forces. ... more
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Mattis seeks allied input ahead of Afghanistan proposal
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Wednesday he is finalizing recommendations for a new military plan for Afghanistan, but he still needs input from NATO allies. ... more
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Trump weighs further US troops for Afghanistan
Hanging in a corridor outside the Pentagon press office, a blow-up of a Time magazine cover shows a weary US soldier drawing deeply on his cigarette. Barbed wire and snowy foothills loom behind him. ... more
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Security in Afghanistan likely to 'deteriorate': US intelligence
The head of US intelligence agencies offered a pessimistic assessment Thursday of the security situation in Afghanistan, where the US government is planning to send more troops to combat resurgent Islamic extremists. ... more
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Two killed in Kashmir cross-border firing
Two people were killed in cross-border firing in Kashmir Thursday, one on each side of the disputed region's de facto border, officials in India and Pakistan said in the latest skirmishes between the nuclear-armed neighbours. ... more
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Turkey slams US rapid arming Syrian Kurds in IS fight
Turkey on Wednesday slammed as unacceptable a US plan to arm Syrian Kurdish fighters whom Ankara considers terrorists, but the militia applauded a "historic" move that would speed up the defeat of Islamic State (IS) extremists. ... more
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NATO mulls sending thousands more troops to Afghanistan
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that military chiefs wanted a few thousand more troops from the alliance to be deployed in Afghanistan to help combat Islamist insurgents. ... more
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