Although the volatile politics of Kyrgyzstan rarely garner headlines in the U.S., more than five dozen American families are keeping close tabs on developments here. Each wants to adopt a young orphan from this small republic in Central Asia. For three years now, they've watched from places like Atlanta, Georgia, and Stockton, California, as Kyrgyzstan has undergone a violent revolution, a deadly outbreak of ethnic conflict, and a rocky transition to democracy.
As the "Arab Spring" revolutions dominate the news, Kyrgyzstan is marking the one-year anniversary of another uprising. That one overthrew the authoritarian regime of President Kurmanbek Bakiev, who resigned last April.
Polls closed Sunday in the poor but strategically important Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan as citizens turned out to elect a new parliament, after a year that has seen the president flee the country and ethnic riots that left hundreds dead.
Law enforcement authorities in Kyrgyzstan failed to respond adequately to deadly violence that erupted in the southern part of the country in June, according to a Human Rights Watch report released Monday.
Ousted Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiev said Monday that Sunday's referendum establishing a new constitution was illegitimate. He vehemently denied accusations that he was behind recent violence that killed scores of ethnic Uzbeks.
The United States operates an air base in Kyrgyzstan. The keystone of the Pentagon's Northern Distribution Network, it keeps essential matériel moving into Afghanistan for NATO troops, notwithstanding steady disruption on the roads out of Pakistan.
The situation in Kyrgystan is much more complex than initial reports indicate, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday, and allegations that violence in that Central Asian country has been instigated "have to be taken seriously."
Tens of thousands of Uzbeks are fleeing ethnic violence in southern Kyrgyzstan amid what one aid official described Sunday as a "humanitarian catastrophe," according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The nice thing about people new to power is they haven't yet learned the pretensions of state. When we arrived at the Kyrgyz Defense Ministry to interview Roza Otunbayeva, the chairwoman of the interim government, no one checked our identities, there were no metal detectors, and no one frisked us or checked our equipment.
Tensions remained high in Kyrgyzstan early Sunday after two days of ethnic clashes left dozens of people dead and more than 1,000 others injured since fighting broke out Thursday night, state media reported.