Vehicle attack kills cyclists, including Americans, in Tajikistan


US and Tajik officials say that two American cyclists and two others have been killed in a auto crash in the ex-Soviet Central Asian nation in what may have been a deliberate attack.

The three injured include the Dutch victim's girlfriend. This would lend credence to the forming opinion that the incident was a deliberate attack, though there is a range of possible motives.

A traveler on the M41 road (also called Pamir highway), crossing the Pamir plateau in Tajikistan. One of them reportedly has a stab wound.

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A Daewoo sedan plowed into a group of seven foreign bicyclists about 60 miles south of the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, on Sunday, according to local police. RFE/RL reports that additional suspects are wanted by the authorities, including two 19-year-old men and a 21-year-old - the Tajik Interior Ministry published photos of the wanted suspects. AFP reported that separate police accounts indicate that at least four suspects have been arrested and five killed by police.

Tajikistan had declared 2018 "a year of tourism" and authorities have been cautious about labeling the incident as terrorism.

"We are looking into all versions - accident, robbery. including a terrorist act", Ramazon Rakhimzoda, the interior minister, told a briefing.

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Bikes on the Pamir highway in Tajikistan.

President Emomali Rahmon's office announced that he had declared his condolences to the governments of the United States, the Netherlands and Switzerland over the deaths.

Four of the cyclists died and three others, including a woman from Switzerland, were injured, Tajik officials said. The Pamir highway is said to be the second highest road on earth.

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Tajikistan has struggled with poverty and instability since the former Soviet republic in Central Asia became independent in 1991.