Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests [Updated August 4, 2006]   [open pdf - 237KB]

"The Administration's diverse goals in Central Asia reflect the differing characteristics of these states. U.S. interests in Kazakhstan include securing and eliminating Soviet-era nuclear and biological weapons materials and facilities. In Tajikistan, U.S. aid focuses on economic reconstruction. U.S. energy firms have invested in oil and natural gas development in Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. U.S. relations with Uzbekistan suffered following the Uzbek government's violent crackdown on armed and unarmed protesters in the city of Andijon in May 2005. Some observers call for different emphases or levels of U.S. involvement in the region. There are differing views on whether to strengthen or weaken conditions linking aid to progress in improving human rights or in making adequate progress in democratization and the creation of free markets. There is debate regarding the importance of energy resources in the region to U.S. national security and about whether the risks posed by civil and ethnic tensions in the region outweigh the benefits of U.S. involvement. There are questions about whether U.S. military access is needed after Afghanistan becomes more stable. Heightened congressional interest in Central Asian (and South Caucasian) states was reflected in passage of 'Silk Road' language in 1999 (P.L. 106-113) authorizing enhanced U.S. policy attention and aid to support conflict amelioration, humanitarian needs, economic development, transport (including energy pipelines) and communications, border controls, democracy, and the creation of civil societies in these countries."

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CRS Report for Congress, RL33458
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