Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests [Updated September 7, 2006] [open pdf - 239KB]
From the Summary: "After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the United States recognized the independence of all the former Central Asian republics, supported their admission into Western organizations, and elicited Turkish support to counter Iranian influence in the region. Congress was at the forefront in urging the formation of coherent U.S. policies for aiding these and other Eurasian states of the former Soviet Union. […] 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 and 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 will be 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. [Public Law] 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. This CRS [Congressional Research Service] report replaces CRS Issue Brief IB93108, 'Central Asia: Regional Developments and Implications for U.S. Interests', by Jim Nichol."
CRS Report for Congress, RL33458