News / Asia

US Vows Sustained Engagement in Central Asia

US Vows Sustained Engagement in Central Asiai
X
January 15, 2013 6:06 PM
A top State Department official visits Central Asia this week, to reassure regional leaders that Washington remains committed to the defense and development of their nations. The visit comes days after President Obama announced that U.S. soldiers will soon play only a supporting role in defending Afghanistan from Taliban rebels. VOA correspondent James Brooke reports.

US Vows Sustained Engagement in Central Asia

James Brooke
The State Department’s top official for Central Asia arrives in the region Tuesday to reassure leaders that Washington remains committed to the development and defense of Central Asia.
 
The three-day trip by Robert O. Blake Jr., Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, comes immediately after the visit to Washington of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. During that visit, President Barack Obama announced that American soldiers will soon play only a supporting role in defending Afghanistan from Taliban rebels. By the end of next year, most American soldiers are to leave Afghanistan.
 
"While we may be reducing our military presence after 2014, we will remain very much engaged economically to ensure the continued security and stability of Afghanistan and the region,” Blake told VOA in Washington before leaving for Central Asia. “Obviously, we have invested a lot of blood and treasure over the past 10 years. We have a very important investment to protect.”
 
Blake meets with leaders in Turkmenistan on Tuesday, then flies to Kyrgyzstan where the United States maintains the Manas air-transit center at the international airport of Bishkek, the capital.
 
Blake said he would discuss extending the base lease, which expires next year.
 
“Manas is a very important logistics operation for the United States, but also the center through which almost all our troops pass to go into Afghanistan,” he said.
 
About 10 minutes by helicopter from Manas, Russia maintains its own air base in Kant, Kyrgyzstan, where, last year, Moscow extended its lease for 15 years.
 
Last October, Russian President Vladimir Putin flew to Tajikistan, just north of Afghanistan, where Russia gained 30-year extensions on three base leases. Housing a total of 6,000 troops, the trio of bases represent Russia’s largest foreign troop deployment.
 
While Russia restores historic military ties with Central Asia, China's focus is economic. New pipelines now carry Central Asian oil and gas east to China while new roads carry Chinese goods west to Central Asia.
 
Looking ahead, Blake says there will be roles in Central Asia for China, Russia and the United States.
 
“Far from being a 'Great Game' in Afghanistan and in Central Asia, there is more of a great gain,” he said. “There is space for all of us to benefit, and there is space for all of us to have a role.”
 
After working with the region for almost four years, Blake draws this conclusion: “All the Central Asians want to see the United States play a greater role. They welcome having the United States very involved in promoting trade, in promoting stability.”
 
As the numbers of American troops decline in Afghanistan, Washington wants to reassure regional leaders that the United States will remain engaged in Central Asia.

You May Like

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Gennady from: Russia, Volga Region
January 14, 2013 9:07 PM
Unfortunately, the article didn’t mention the largest Central Asian Republic, namely Uzbekistan. Does it mean that the country is excluded/neglected from US Engagement? Or does the authoritarian leader of the republic avoid any cooperation, particularly after his dealing with the the Andigian massacre?

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid