Foreign officials claim Uzbekistan to hold funeral for president

A top Kyrgyz diplomat and an Afghan government official say Uzbekistan is holding a funeral for President Islam Karimov on Saturday.

Uzbek officials have said only that Karimov is gravely ill.

The Afghan official told The Associated Press on Friday that President Ashraf Ghani will attend Karimov's funeral tomorrow. The Kyrgyz diplomat told the AP the country's prime minister also had been invited to Karimov's funeral.

Karimov, 78, hasn't been seen in public since mid-August, but his government admitted only last weekend that he was ill. His daughter Lola said he had suffered a brain hemorrhage, and a swarm of unofficial reports have placed him close to death or even dead.

Karimov has run an authoritarian government in the Central Asian nation since 1989, and cultivated no apparent successor.