Russian foreign ministry: foreign radicals behind Uzbekistan unrest

The Russian foreign minister said foreign radical forces, particularly Talibs, were behind uprising in Uzbekistan. Sergei Lavrov said Russia was still analyzing reports coming from Uzbekistan, and did not have a full picture yet. "I do not think any country will tolerate foreign forces seizing arms depots, staging violence, raiding administrative buildings, and taking hostages on its territory," Lavrov told a news conference in Vienna. Lavrov said every country with self-respect must take measures to exercise its right to self-protection.

A group of gunmen seized administrative buildings and a prison in Andijan, a large city in eastern Uzbekistan, on Thursday night, while thousands of protesters filled the central square the next day, demanding the president and the government step down. The central government sent troops into the city and the uprising was suppressed.

The government reported on nine killed, whereas other reports said hundreds of people had been killed and many were injured in Andijan.

"We know the violent clashes took a high death toll and offer our deepest condolences to the victims' relations," said the minister.

Lavrov said it was necessary to ensure stability so that people calmed down and did not respond to provocative acts.

Lavrov also called for a thorough investigation into who and why sent the group of gunmen into the city. This is important as intelligence reports indicate that foreigners were among the gunmen.

Lavrov suggested the UN Security Council's Counter Terrorism Committee, the Commonwealth of Independent States' Anti-Terrorist Committee, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization should be engaged in the investigation.

Lavrov emphasized it was necessary to deter further escalation and more casualties in Uzbekistan.