At least 20 people were reported dead today in bombings and gun battles in Uzbekistan, a strategic ally of the United States that borders Afghanistan.
It was the third straight day of violence there. Bombs and shootings took the lives of at least 19 people on Sunday and Monday in this Central Asian nation where the United States has maintained a military base since shortly after Sept. 11, 2001.
Uzbekstan, with a population of 26 million, is the largest of the former Soviet republics in Central Asia. It has been a close ally of the United States despite widespread publicity about human rights abuses that the United States has called “systematic.”