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

Pundits Split Over Long-Term US Role in Afghanistan

Security pact remains condition for American presence beyond 2014; deadline criticized More

US Eyes Islamic State Threat

Officials warn that IS could pose a threat to US homeland More

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Moscow says Russian troops crossed into Ukrainian territory by mistake 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.
Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocksi
X
George Putic
August 25, 2014 4:00 PM
How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Scientists Unlock Mystery of Bird Flocks

How can flocks of birds, schools of fish or herds of antelope suddenly change direction -- all the individuals adjusting their movement in concert, at seemingly the same time? British researchers now have some insights into this behavior, which has puzzled scientists for a long time. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ukraine: Captured Troops Proof of Russian Role in Separatist Fight

Ukrainian officials say they have captured Russian soldiers on Ukrainian territory -- the latest accusation of Moscow's involvement in the conflict in eastern Ukraine. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the Ukrainian side of the battle, where soldiers are convinced of Russia's role.
Video

Video Rubber May Soon Come From Dandelions

Synthetic rubber has been around for more than a century, but quality tires for cars, trucks and aircraft still need up to 40 percent or more natural rubber content. As the source of natural rubber, the rubber tree, is prone to disease and can be affected by bad weather. So scientists are looking for replacements. And as VOA’s George Putic reports, they may have found one in a ubiquitous weed.
Video

Video Jewish Life in Argentina Reflected in Yiddish Tango

Jewish people from across Europe and Russia have been immigrating to Argentina for hundreds of years. They brought with them dance music that was eventually mixed with Argentine tango. The result is Yiddish tango -- a fusion of melodies and cultural experiences that is still evolving today. Elizabeth Lee reports on how one band is bringing Yiddish tango to Los Angeles.
Video

Video Peace Returns to Ferguson as Community Tries to Heal

Thousands of people nationwide are expected to attend funeral services Monday in the U.S. Midwestern city of St. Louis, Missouri, for Michael Brown, the unarmed African-American teenager who was fatally shot by a white police officer August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. The shooting touched off days of violent demonstrations there, resulting in more than 100 arrests. VOA's Chris Simkins reports from Ferguson where the community is trying to move on after weeks of racial tension.
Video

Video Meeting in Minsk May Hinge on Putin Story

The presidents of Russia and Ukraine are expected to meet face-to-face Tuesday in Minsk, along with European leaders, for talks on the situation in Ukraine. Political analysts say the much welcomed dialogue could help bring an end to months of deadly clashes between pro-Russia separatists and Ukrainian forces in the country's southeast. But much depends on the actions of one man, Russian President Vladimir Putin. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video Artists Shun Russia's Profanity Law

Russia in July enacted a law threatening fines for publicly displayed profanity in media, films, literature, music and theater. The restriction, the toughest since the Soviet era, aims to protect the Russian language and culture and has been welcomed by those who say cursing is getting out of control. But many artists reject the move as a patronizing and ineffective act of censorship in line with a string of conservative morality laws. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
Video

Video British Fighters on Frontline of ISIS Information War

Security services are racing to identify the Islamic State militant who beheaded U.S. journalist James Foley in Syria. The murderer spoke English on camera with a British accent. It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for the Islamic State, also called ISIL or ISIS, alongside thousands of other foreign jihadists. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from the center of the investigation in London.

AppleAndroid