June 18, 2018 / 9:49 AM / 3 months ago

Uzbekistan detains returnee U.S. citizen accused of militant links

ALMATY (Reuters) - Uzbekistan has detained a returnee with United States citizenship, accusing him of being a former Islamist militant, the Central Asian nation’s state news agency, UzA, reported on Monday.

Uzbek-born Zokir Aliyev, 46, U.S. citizen since 2014, was detained on June 16 in the southern Qashqadaryo province, UzA said, citing the State Security Service.

It said Aliyev had been on a state security wanted list since 2005 over his affiliation with the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU), a militant movement born in the 1990s out of an insurgency in the former Soviet republic.

IMU fighters later fought alongside the Taliban in Afghanistan and UzA said Aliyev had trained there.

The U.S. embassy in Tashkent had no immediate comment on Monday.

According to Aliyev’s Facebook page, which gives his name as Zokir Ali, he has lived in two small towns in Virginia and studied at the University of Nevada.

Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Toby Chopra

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