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

TEXT SIZE - +
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.

James Brooke

A foreign correspondent who has reported from five continents, Brooke, known universally as Jim, is the Voice of America bureau chief for Russia and former Soviet Union countries. From his base in Moscow, Jim roams Russia and Russia’s southern neighbors.

You May Like

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

John the XXIII and John Paul II will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square on April 27 More

Thailand Reacts to Plots Targeting Israelis

Authorities hope arrest of two Lebanese suspects will disrupt plot to attack young Israeli tourists More

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

'Once Upon a Forest' takes viewers deep into heart of tropical rainforest 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.
Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Churchi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 22, 2014 4:14 PM
On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Robotic Mission Kicks Up Lunar Dust

A robotic mission to the moon was deliberately crashed onto the lunar surface late last week, but not before scientists had collected data gathered by the spacecraft which was designed to self-destruct. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports on the preliminary findings of the craft, called LADEE - an acronym for Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer.
Video

Video Boko Haram Claims Responsibility for Bombing in Nigerian Capital

The Nigerian militant group known as Boko Haram has claimed responsibility for a bombing in the capital on April 14th that killed 75 people. In the video message, Abubakar Shekau, the man who says he ordered the bombing, says nothing about the mass abduction of more than 100 teenage girls, most of whom are still missing. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Abuja.
Video

Video Ukraine Developments Hang Over Obama Trip to Asia

President Barack Obama's trip to Asia this week comes as concerns over Beijing's territorial ambitions are growing in the region. Those concerns have been compounded by Russia's recent actions in Ukraine and the possibility that Chinese strategists might be looking to Crimea as a model for its territorial disputes with its neighbors. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid