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

Video VOA EXCLUSIVE: Iraq President Vows to Fight IS 'Until They Are Killed or We Die'

In wide-ranging interview with VOA Persian service reporter, Fuad Masum describes conflict as new type of fight that will take time to win More

Video Russian Anti-Corruption Campaigner Slams Putin’s Crackdown on Dissent

In interview with VOA Alexei Navalny says he believes new law against 'undesirable NGOs' part of move to keep Russian president in power More

Video On The Scene: In Ethiopia, 'Are You a Journalist?' Is a Loaded Question

VOA's Anita Powell describes the difficulties faced by reporters in fully conveying the story in a country where people are reticent to share their true opinions 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.
Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardshipi
X
Ayesha Tanzeem
May 28, 2015 6:48 PM
Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Expelled from Pakistan, Afghan Refugees Return to Increased Hardship

Undocumented refugees returning to Afghanistan from Pakistan have no jobs, no support system, and no home return to, and international aid agencies say they and the government are overwhelmed and under-resourced. Ayesha Tanzeem has more from Kabul.
Video

Video Britain Makes Controversial Move to Crack Down on Extremism

Britain is moving to tighten controls on extremist rhetoric, even when it does not incite violence or hatred -- a move that some are concerned might unduly restrict basic freedoms. It is an issue many countries are grappling with as extremist groups gain power in the Middle East, fueled in part by donations and fighters from the West. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Floodwaters Recede in Houston, but Rain Continues

Many parts of Texas are recovering from one of the worst natural disasters to hit the southwestern state. Heavy rains on Monday and early Tuesday caused rivers to swell in eastern and central Texas, washing away homes and killing at least 13 people. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Houston, floodwaters are receding slowly in the country's fourth-largest city, and there likely is to be more rain in the coming days.
Video

Video 3D Printer Makes Replica of Iconic Sports Car

Cars with parts made by 3D printers are already on the road, but engineers are still learning about this new technology. While testing the possibility of printing an entire car, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy recently created an electric-powered replica of an iconic sports roadster. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Al-Shabab Recruitment Drive Still on In Kenya

The al-Shabab militants that have long battled for control of Somalia also have recruited thousands of young people in Kenya, leaving many families disconsolate. Mohammed Yusuf recently visited the Kenyan town of Isiolo, and met with relatives of those recruited, as well as a many who have helped with the recruiting.
Video

Video US Voters Seek Answers From Presidential Candidates on IS Gains

The growth of the Islamic State militant group in Iraq and Syria comes as the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign kicks off in the Midwest state of Iowa.   As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, voters want to know how the candidates would handle recent militant gains in the Middle East.
Video

Video A Small Oasis on Kabul's Outskirts Provides Relief From Security Tensions

When people in Kabul want to get away from the city and relax, many choose Qargha Lake, a small resort on the outskirts of Kabul. Ayesha Tanzeem visited and talked with people about the precious oasis.
Video

Video Film Festival Looks at Indigenous Peoples, Culture Conflict

A recent Los Angeles film festival highlighted the plight of people caught between two cultures. Mike O'Sullivan has more on the the Garifuna International Film Festival, a Los Angeles forum created by a woman from Central America who wants the world to know more about her culture.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.

VOA Blogs