Kyrgyzstan

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Kyrgyzstan president Almazbek Atambayev: up to the beginning of this year, at least 508 people – including 121 women – left his country for Isis-controlled territories in Syria and Iraq. Photograph: Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Sitting on the foothills of the Tian Shan mountains at the edge of a plain that stretches through Kazakhstan all the way to Siberia’s boreal forests t(...)

The  €22 million replica of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque being built by Turkey’s Presidency of Religious Affairs in central Bishkek. Photograph: Stephen Starr

The huge €22 million replica of Istanbul’s Blue Mosque being built by Turkey’s presidency of religious affairs in central Bishkek, 3,700km from the Tu(...)

River crossing on horseback in the Andes

I can predict the reaction now when I tell people I am a travel writer. Ah, that is so cool, do tell more, they say smiling. Then I tell them that (...)

 Mary Lawlor, founder and director of Front Line Defenders: “Ireland and the EU must be as strong speaking up for human rights defenders in countries where they have political and strategic interests as they are when it comes to the usual suspects,” she said. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Some 157 human rights activists were killed or died in detention in 25 countries last year, according to the advocacy group Front Line Defenders. T(...)

A vendor sells sausages prepared from horse meat at Bishkek’s Osh Bazaar: Scotsman Michael McFeat faces jail after  commenting on  the  spicy delicacy’s appearance on Facebook.      Photograph: Evan Harris/AFP/Getty Images

A British mine worker has reportedly been arrested in Kyrgyzstan after comparing its national dish to a horse’s penis on Facebook. Scotsman Michael (...)

Horse wrestling: a traditional nomad existence gave the Kyrgyz the horseback prowess associated with the most famous central Asian, Ghengis Khan. Today the national sport of Kyrgyzstan is wrestling  and a gory form of polo involving a sheep’s headless carcass. Photograph: Jonathan Korowicz

The market in Bishkek is a mayhem of spices, meat and dowdy attire. You want a lock, glue or fresh pistachios? Some “atum” ground chilli or perhaps a (...)

Post-kidnapping Kyrgyz women: a quarter of all marriages in Kyrgyzstan are believed to involve bride kidnapping. Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images

Kyrgyzstan is an Islamic former Soviet republic of 5½ million people, 800,000-odd of them in Bishkek, the capital. Ethnic Kyrgyz have a history of ho(...)

Iranians walk past a banner showing a portrait of  soldiers killed by Islamic State militants during a mission in  Aleppo in Syria. Photograph: Atta Kenare/AFP/Getty Images

Iran will be invited to participate in talks in Vienna on Friday to discuss ending the conflict in Syria and establishing a framework for political tr(...)

Dubliner Mark Walsh: “My break came when I was asked to work on a documentary about Salman Rushdie”

In the mid-1980s, Dubliner Mark Walsh, following college, was “attracted to the louche cosmopolitanism of West Berlin”, preferring to live “on a wa(...)

Afghan military personnel walk near the airport during fighting between Taliban militants and Afghan security forces in Kunduz. Photograph: Wakil Kohsar/AFP/Getty Images

Afghan government forces on Thursday rallied for the first time to try to retake the city of Kunduz from Taliban fighters, engaging in heavy fighting (...)

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