Central Asia's Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Interests [Updated January 7, 2005] [open pdf - 240KB]
"The Central Asian states (Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan) face common security challenges from crime, corruption, terrorism, and faltering commitments to economic and democratic reforms. Security in the region is likely in the near term to vary by country, since cooperation among them remains halting. Kyrgyzstan's and Tajikistan's futures are most clouded by ethnic and regional tensions, and corruption in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan could spoil benefits from the development of their ample energy resources. Authoritarianism and poverty in Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan could contribute to succession crises. Kyrgyzstan's emerging civil society may help the relatively small nation to safeguard its independence, and Turkmenistan's ethnic homogeneity could put it in good stead, but both contain fractious regions and clans. Uzbekistan could become a regional power able to take the lead on policy issues common to Central Asia and to resist undue influence from more powerful outside powers, because of its large territory and population (57 million) and energy and other resources. However, tensions between Uzbekistan and other Central Asian states stymy regional cooperation. Internal political developments in several bordering or close-by states may have a large impact on Central Asian security. These developments include a possibly more authoritarian and globalist Russia, ethnic and political instability in China, political liberalization in Iran, or re-surging drug production and Islamic extremism in Afghanistan."
CRS Report for Congress, RL30294