Order Code IB93108
CRS Issue Brief for Congress
Received through the CRS Web
Central Asia: Regional Developments and
Implications for U.S. Interests
Updated May 12, 2006
Foreign Affairs, Defense, and Trade Division
Congressional Research Service ˜ The Library of Congress
MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS
Overview of U.S. Policy Concerns
Post-September 11 and Afghanistan
Support for Operation Iraqi Freedom
Fostering Pro-Western Orientations
Obstacles to Peace and Independence
Regional Tensions and Conflicts
Democratization and Human Rights
Security and Arms Control
Weapons of Mass Destruction
Trade and Investment
Central Asia: Regional Developments and
Implications for U.S. Interests
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.
U.S. aid focuses on economic reconstruction.
U.S. energy firms have invested in oil and
natural gas development in Kazakhstan,
Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Some observers call for different emphases or levels of U.S. involvement in Central
Asia. Some have called for strengthening
conditions linking aid to progress in improving human rights or in making adequate progress in democratization and the creation of
free markets. Some have disputed the importance of energy resources to U.S. national
security. Others point to civil and ethnic
tensions in the region as possibly endangering
U.S. lives and investments. Heightened congressional interest in Central Asia was reflected in passage of “Silk Road” language in
late 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 the South Caucasian and Central Asian states.
Soon after the terrorist attacks on America on September 11, 2001, all the Central
Asian states offered overflight and other
support to coalition anti-terrorist efforts in
Afghanistan. Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and
Uzbekistan hosted coalition troops and provided access to airbases. In 2003, Uzbekistan
endorsed coalition military action in Iraq and
Kazakhstan provided about two dozen troops
After September 11, 2001, U.S. policy
emphasized bolstering the security of the
Central Asian states to help them combat
terrorism, proliferation, and arms trafficking.
Other strategic interests include internal reforms (democratization, free markets, and
human rights) and energy development.
Administration policy also aims to integrate
these states into the international community
so that they follow responsible security and
other policies, and to discourage the growth of
xenophobic, fundamentalist, and anti-Western
orientations that threaten peace and stability.
Foreign Operations Appropriations for
FY2006 was signed into law on November 14,
2005 (H.R. 3057; P.L. 109-102). The conferees (H.Rept. 109-265) call for $25 million in
Freedom Support Act aid to Kazakhstan, $25
million to Kyrgyzstan, $24 million to
Tajikistan, $5 million to Turkmenistan, and
$20 million to Uzbekistan. The law continues
prior year language conditioning aid to the
governments of Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan
on progress in democratization and respect for
human rights, and adds that the Uzbek government should permit an international investigation of the mid-2005 violence against civilians
The Administration’s policy goals in
Central Asia reflect the differing characteristics of these states.
U.S. interests in
Kazakhstan include the security and elimination of Soviet-era nuclear and biological
weapons materials and facilities. In Tajikistan,
Congressional Research Service
The Library of Congress
MOST RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
On April 19, Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev threatened to close the U.S.-led
coalition airbase at Manas, unless the United States agreed to new base leasing arrangement
by June 1.
The European Union warned the Kyrgyz government on May 2 that “there are worrying
indications that circles connected with organized crime are attempting to gain influence over
political life and state institutions” and urged the government to combat this growing crime
and political violence. The U.S. Ambassador on April 17 also had warned that crime and
corruption increasingly threatened Kyrgyzstan’s stability. Days before, there had been an
assassination attempt against democracy and human rights advocate Edil Baysalov, after he
had met with visiting U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher.
According to a report issued by the non-governmental organization Global Watch in late
April 2006, Turkmen President Saparamurad Niyazov personally controls a vast portion of
the wealth generated from natural gas exports. The report also raises concerns about the
involvement of alleged organized crime groups in the export business.
BACKGROUND AND ANALYSIS
Central Asia consists of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan; it borders Russia, China, the Middle East, and South Asia. The major peoples
of all but Tajikistan speak Turkic languages (the Tajiks speak an Iranian language); and most
are Sunni Muslims (some Tajiks are Shiia Muslims). Most are closely related historically
and culturally. By the late 19th century, Russian tsars had conquered the last independent
khanates and nomadic lands of Central Asia. By the early 1920s, Soviet power had been
imposed; by 1936, five “Soviet Socialist Republics” had been created. Upon the collapse of
the Soviet Union in December 1991, they gained independence. (See CRS Report 97-1058,
Kazakhstan; CRS Report 97-690, Kyrgyzstan; CRS Report 98-594, Tajikistan; CRS Report
97-1055, Turkmenistan; and CRS Report RS21238, Uzbekistan, all by Jim Nichol.)
Central Asia: Basic Facts
Area: 1.6 million sq. mi., larger than India; Kazakhstan: 1.1 m. sq. mi.; Kyrgyzstan: 77,000 sq. mi.; Tajikistan:
55,800 sq. mi.; Turkmenistan: 190,000 sq. mi.; Uzbekistan: 174,500 sq. mi.
Population: 59.4 million (2005 est., CIA World Factbook), slightly less than France; Kazakhstan: 15.2 m.;
Kyrgyzstan: 5.1 m.; Tajikistan: 7.2 m.; Turkmenistan: 5.0 m.; Uzbekistan: 26.9 m.
Gross Domestic Product: $223.6 billion in 2005; per capita GDP is about $3,900; poverty is rampant.
Kazakhstan: $133.2 b.; Kyrgyzstan: $9.3 b.; Tajikistan: $8.8 b.; Turkmenistan: $29.4 b.; Uzbekistan: $52.2
b. (CIA Factbook, purchasing power parity).
Overview of U.S. Policy Concerns
After the collapse of the Soviet Union at the end of 1991, then-President George H.W.
Bush sent the “FREEDOM Support Act” (FSA) to Congress, which was amended and signed
into law in October 1992 (P.L. 102-511). In 1999, congressional concerns led to passage of
the “Silk Road Strategy Act” authorizing language (P.L. 106-113) calling for enhanced
policy and aid to support conflict amelioration, humanitarian needs, economic development,
transport and communications, border controls, democracy, and the creation of civil societies
in the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
U.S. policymakers and others hold various views on the types and levels of U.S.
involvement in the region. Some argue that ties with “energy behemoth” Kazakhstan are
crucial to U.S. interests. At least until recently, others argued that Uzbekistan is the
“linchpin” of the region (it is the most populous regional state and is centrally located,
shaping the range and scope of regional cooperation) and should receive the most U.S.
attention. In general, however, advocates of U.S. involvement support bolstering reforms
and stability in the region. Such advocates argue that political turmoil and the growth of
terrorist enclaves in Central Asia can produce spillover effects both in nearby states,
including U.S. allies and friends such as Turkey, and worldwide. They also argue that the
United States has a major interest in preventing terrorist regimes or groups from illicitly
acquiring Soviet-era technology for making weapons of mass destruction (WMD). They
maintain that U.S. interests do not perfectly coincide with those of its allies and friends, that
Turkey and other actors possess limited aid resources, and that the United States is in the
strongest position as the sole superpower to influence democratization and respect for human
rights. They stress that such U.S. influence will help alleviate social tensions exploited by
Islamic extremist groups to gain adherents. Similarly, U.S. aid and investment is viewed as
strengthening the independence of the Central Asian states and forestalling Russian or
Chinese attempts to subjugate them.
Some views of policymakers and academics who previously objected to a more forward
U.S. policy toward Central Asia appeared less salient after September 11, 2001, but aspects
of these views could gain more credence if Afghanistan becomes more stable. These
observers argued that the United States historically had few interests in this region and that
developments there remained largely marginal to U.S. interests. They discounted fears that
anti-Western Islamic extremism would make enough headway to threaten secular regimes
or otherwise harm U.S. interests. At least until the coup in Kyrgyzstan in March 2005 (see
below, Democratization), these observers argued that the United States should not try to
foster democratization among cultures they claimed are historically attuned to
authoritarianism. Some observers reject arguments that U.S. interests in anti-terrorism, nonproliferation, regional cooperation, and trade outweigh concerns over democratization and
human rights, and urge reducing or cutting off most aid to repressive states. A few
observers point to instability in the region as a reason to eschew deeper U.S. involvement
such as military access that might place more U.S. personnel and citizens in danger.
Post-September 11 and Afghanistan. Since the terrorist attacks on the United
States on September 11, 2001, the Administration has stated that U.S. policy toward Central
Asia focuses on the promotion of security, domestic reforms, and energy development.
According to then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State B. Lynn Pascoe in testimony in June
2002, the September 11 attacks led the Administration to realize that “it was critical to the
national interests of the United States that we greatly enhance our relations with the five
Central Asian countries” to prevent them from becoming harbors for terrorism. After
September 11, 2001, all the Central Asian states soon offered overflight and other assistance
to U.S.-led anti-terrorism efforts in Afghanistan. The states were predisposed to welcome
such operations. Tajikistan and Uzbekistan had long supported the Afghan Northern
Alliance’s combat against the Taliban, and all the Central Asian states feared Afghanistan
as a base for terrorism, crime, and drug trafficking (even Turkmenistan, which tried to reach
some accommodation with the Taliban) (see also below, Security).
Support for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Uzbekistan was the only Central Asian
state that joined the “coalition of the willing” in February-March 2003 that endorsed
prospective U.S.-led coalition military operations in Iraq (Kazakhstan joined later).
Uzbekistan subsequently decided not to send troops to Iraq, but Kazakhstan has deployed
some two dozen troops to Iraq who are engaged in de-mining and water purification.
Fostering Pro-Western Orientations
The United States has encouraged the Central Asian states to become responsible
members of the international community, supporting integrative goals through bilateral aid
and through coordination with other aid donors. The stated policy goal is to discourage
radical anti-democratic regimes and terrorist groups from gaining influence. All the Central
Asian leaders publicly embrace Islam, but display hostility toward Islamic fundamentalism.
At the same time, they have established some trade and aid ties with Iran. While they have
had greater success in attracting development aid from the West than from the East, some
observers argue that, in the long run, their foreign policies may not be anti-Western, but may
more closely reflect some concerns of other Islamic states. (See also CRS Report RL30294,
Central Asia’s Security: Issues and Implications for U.S. Interests, by Jim Nichol.)
Russia’s Role. During most of the 1990s, U.S. administrations generally viewed a
democratizing Russia as serving as a role model in Central Asia. Despite growing
authoritarian tendencies in Russia since Vladimir Putin became its president in 2000, the
Bush Administration has emphasized that Russia’s counter-terrorism efforts in the region
broadly support U.S. interests. At the same time, the United States long has stressed to
Russia that it not seek to dominate the region or exclude Western and other involvement.
Virtually all U.S. analysts agree that Russia’s actions should be monitored to ensure that the
independence of the Central Asian states is not threatened.
The long-term impact of the events of September 11, 2001, on the Central Asian states
may depend upon the durability and scope of U.S. and coalition presence in the region,
Russia’s countervailing policies, and the fate of Afghanistan. Among Russia’s reasons for
acquiescing to increased U.S. and coalition presence in the region after the September 2001
attacks were its interests in boosting some economic and other ties to the West and its hopes
of regaining influence in Afghanistan. More recently, Russia has appeared to step up efforts
to counter U.S. influence.
Russian officials have emphasized interests in strategic security and economic ties with
Central Asia. Strategic concerns have focused on drug trafficking and regional conflict, and
the region’s role as a buffer to Islamic extremism. During the 1990s, Russia’s economic
decline and demands by Central Asia caused it to reduce its security presence, a trend that
President Putin has tried to retard or reverse. In 1999, Russian border guards were largely
phased out in Kyrgyzstan, the last Russian military advisors left Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan withdrew from the Collective Security Treaty (CST) of the Commonwealth of
Independent States (CIS), citing its ineffectiveness and obtrusiveness. However, Russia has
appeared determined to maintain a military presence in Tajikistan. It long retained about
14,500 Federal Border Guards in Tajikistan, most of whom were Tajik conscripts, and 7,800
Russian troops of the 201st motorized rifle division (The Military Balance 2005-2006).
Russia’s efforts to formalize a basing agreement with Tajikistan dragged on for years, as
Tajikistan endeavored to maximize rents and assert its sovereignty. In October 2004, the
basing agreement was signed, formalizing Russia’s largest military presence abroad, besides
its Black Sea Fleet. At the same time, Tajikistan demanded full control over border policing.
Russia announced in June 2005 that it had handed over the last guard-house along the
Afghan-Tajik border to Tajik troops. In March 2006, a top Russian border guard official
stated that Tajik border troops were adequately guarding the border from drug trafficking
from Afghanistan. Others assert that the volume of drug trafficking has greatly increased.
In a seeming shift toward a more activist role in Central Asia, in April 2000, Russia
called for the members of the CST to approve the creation of rapid reaction forces to combat
terrorism and hinted that such forces might launch pre-emptive strikes on Afghan terrorist
bases. These hints elicited U.S. calls for Russia to exercise restraint and consult the U.N.
Presidents Clinton and Putin agreed in 2000 to set up a working group to examine Afghanrelated terrorism (this working group now examines global terrorism issues). CST members
agreed in 2001 to set up a Central Asian rapid reaction force headquartered in Kyrgyzstan,
with Russia’s troops in Tajikistan comprising most of the force. CIS members in 2001 also
approved setting up an Anti-Terrorism Center (ATC) in Moscow, with a branch in
Kyrgyzstan, giving Russia influence over regional intelligence gathering.
Perhaps to counteract the increased U.S. presence in Kyrgyzstan, Russia in September
2003 signed a 15-year military basing accord with Kyrgyzstan providing access to the Kant
airfield, near Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek. The nearly two dozen Russian aircraft and
several hundred troops at the base also serve as part of the Central Asian rapid reaction force.
The base is a few miles from the U.S.-led coalition’s Manas airbase. Taking advantage of
Uzbekistan’s souring relations with many Western countries (see below), Russia signed a
Treaty on Allied Relations with Uzbekistan in November 2005 that calls for mutual defense
consultations in the event of a threat to either party (similar to language in the CST).
Some observers suggest that the gratitude of the Central Asian states toward the United
States — for their added security accomplished through U.S.-led actions in Afghanistan —
has declined over time. Reasons may include perceptions that the United States has not
adequately addressed economic distress and drug trafficking. Also, Russia is pledging
security support to the states to get them to forget their pre-September 11, 2001,
dissatisfaction with its support. Russia’s efforts have benefitted too from growing concerns
among Central Asia’s authoritarian leaders that the United States advocates democratic
“revolutions” to replace them.
Russia’s economic interests in Central Asia are being reasserted as its economy
improves and may constitute its most effective lever of influence. Russia seeks to counter
Western business and gain substantial influence over energy resources through participation
in joint ventures and by insisting that pipelines cross Russian territory. After an Energy
Cooperation Statement was signed at the May 2002 U.S.-Russia summit, it appeared that
Russia would accept a Western role in the Caspian region, including construction of the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) oil pipeline. Subsequently, however, Russian officials tried
(unsuccessfully) to persuade Kazakhstan not to commit to use the BTC pipeline.
Obstacles to Peace and Independence
Regional Tensions and Conflicts. The legacies of co-mingled ethnic groups,
convoluted borders, and emerging national identities pose challenges to stability in all the
Central Asian states. Emerging national identities compete with those of the clan, family,
region, and Islam. Central Asia’s convoluted borders fail to accurately reflect ethnic
distributions and are hard to police, hence contributing to regional tensions. Ethnic Uzbeks
make up sizeable minorities in the other Central Asian countries and Afghanistan. In
Tajikistan, they make up almost a quarter of the population. More ethnic Turkmen reside in
Iran and Afghanistan — over three million — than in Turkmenistan. Sizeable numbers of
ethnic Tajiks reside in Uzbekistan, and seven million in Afghanistan. Many Kyrgyz and
Tajiks live in China’s Xinjiang province. The fertile Ferghana Valley is shared by Tajikistan,
Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. The central governments have struggled to gain control over
administrative subunits. Most observers agree that the term “Central Asia” currently denotes
a geographic area more than a region of shared identities and aspirations, although it is clear
that the land-locked, poverty-stricken, and sparsely-populated region will need more
integration in order to develop.
Regional cooperation remains stymied by tensions among the states, and such tensions
are potentially magnified by the formation of extra-regional cooperation groups such as the
CST Organization, NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PFP), and the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization (SCO). Each group reflects the diverging interests of Russia, the United States,
and China, although the fact that each group stresses anti-terrorism would seem to foster
cooperation. In 1996, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan signed the “Shanghai
treaty” with China pledging the sanctity and substantial demilitarization of mutual borders,
and in 1997 they signed a follow-on treaty demilitarizing the 4,300 mile former SovietChinese border. China has used the treaty to pressure the Central Asian states to deter their
ethnic Uighur minorities from supporting separatism in China’s Xinjiang province, and to
get them to extradite Uighurs fleeing China. In 2001, Uzbekistan joined the group, re-named
the SCO, and in 2003 the SCO Anti-Terrorism Center was established there.
The 1992-1997 Civil War in Tajikistan. Tajikistan was among the Central Asian
republics least prepared and inclined toward independence when the Soviet Union broke up.
In September 1992, a loose coalition of nationalist, Islamic, and democratic parties and
groups tried to take power. Kulyabi and Khojenti regional elites, assisted by Uzbekistan and
Russia, launched a successful counteroffensive that by the end of 1992 had resulted in
20,000-40,000 casualties and up to 800,000 refugees or displaced persons, about 80,000 of
whom fled to Afghanistan. After the two sides agreed to a cease-fire, the U.N. Security
Council established a small U.N. Mission of Observers in Tajikistan (UNMOT) in December
1994. In June 1997, Tajik President Emomali Rakhmanov and rebel leader Seyed Abdullo
Nuri signed a comprehensive peace agreement. Benchmarks of the peace process were
largely met, and UNMOT pulled out in May 2000. The United States has pledged to help
Tajikistan rebuild. Some observers point to events in the city of Andijon in Uzbekistan (see
below) as indicating that conflicts similar to the Tajik civil war could engulf other regional
states where large numbers of people are disenfranchised and poverty-stricken.
The 1999 and 2000 Incursions into Kyrgyzstan. Several hundred Islamic
extremists and others first invaded Kyrgyzstan in July-August 1999. Jama Namanganiy, the
co-leader of the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU; see below), headed the largest
guerrilla group. They seized hostages and several villages, allegedly seeking to create an
Islamic state in south Kyrgyzstan as a springboard for a jihad in Uzbekistan. With Uzbek
and Kazakh air and other support, Kyrgyz forces forced the guerrillas out in October 1999.
Dozens of IMU and other insurgents again invaded Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan in August
2000. Uzbekistan provided air and other support, but Kyrgyz forces were largely responsible
for defeating the insurgents by late October 2000. The IMU did not invade the region in the
summer before September 11, 2001, in part because bin Laden had secured its aid for a
Taliban offensive against the Afghan Northern Alliance.
The 1999 and 2004 Attacks in Uzbekistan. A series of explosions in Tashkent
in February 1999 were among early signs that the government was vulnerable to terrorism.
By various reports, the explosions killed 16 to 28 and wounded 100 to 351 people. The
aftermath involved wide-scale arrests of political dissidents and others deemed by some
observers as unlikely conspirators. Karimov in April 1999 accused Mohammad Solikh
(former Uzbek presidential candidate and head of the banned Erk Party) of masterminding
what he termed an assassination plot, along with Tohir Yuldashev (co-leader of the IMU) and
the Taliban. The first trial of 22 suspects in June resulted in six receiving death sentences.
The suspects said in court that they received terrorist training in Afghanistan, Tajikistan,
Pakistan, and Russia and were led by Solikh, Yuldashev and Namanganiy. In 2000,
Yuldashev and Namanganiy received death sentences in absentia, and Solikh received a 15.5
year prison sentence. Solikh denied membership in IMU, and he and Yuldashev denied
involvement in the bombings.
On March 28 through April 1, 2004, a series of bombings and armed attacks were
launched in Uzbekistan, reportedly killing 47. An obscure Islamic Jihad Group of
Uzbekistan (IJG; Jama’at al-Jihad al-Islami, a breakaway part of the IMU) claimed
responsibility. In subsequent trials, the alleged attackers were accused of being members of
IJG or of Hizb ut-Tahrir (HT; an Islamic fundamentalist movement ostensibly pledged to
peace but banned in Uzbekistan) and of attempting to overthrow the government. Some
defendants testified that they were trained by Arabs and others at camps in Kazakhstan and
Pakistan. They testified that IMU member Najmiddin Jalolov (convicted in absentia in 2000)
was the leader of IJG, and linked him to Taliban head Mohammad Omar, Uighur extremist
Abu Mohammad, and Osama bin Laden. On July 30, 2004, explosions occurred at the U.S.
and Israeli embassies and the Uzbek Prosecutor-General’s Office in Tashkent. The IMU and
IJG claimed responsibility and stated that the bombings were aimed against Uzbek and other
“apostate” governments. A Kazakh security official in late 2004 announced the
apprehension of several IJG members. He alleged that the IJG had ties to Al Qaeda; had
other cells in Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Russia; and was planning assassinations (see also
CRS Report RS21818, The 2004 Attacks in Uzbekistan: Context and Implications for U.S.
Interests, by Jim Nichol).
In September 2000, the State Department designated the IMU as a Foreign Terrorist
Organization, stating that the IMU, aided by Afghanistan’s Taliban and by Osama bin Laden,
resorts to terrorism, actively threatens U.S. interests, and attacks American citizens. The
“main goal of the IMU is to topple the current government in Uzbekistan,” the State
Department warned, and it linked the IMU to bombings and attacks on Uzbekistan in 19992000. According to Patterns of Global Terrorism 2003, IMU forces assisting the Taliban and
Al Qaeda against coalition actions in Afghanistan suffered major losses, and Namanganiy
was probably killed. Former CIA Director Porter Goss testified to the Senate Armed
Services Committee in March 2005 that IJG “has become a more virulent threat to U.S.
interests and local governments.” In May 2005, the State Department designated IJG as a
global terrorist group, and in June, the U.N. Security Council added IJG to its terrorism list.
The 2005 Violence in Andijon, Uzbekistan. Dozens or perhaps hundreds of
civilians were killed or wounded on May 13, 2005, after Uzbek troops fired on
demonstrators in the eastern town of Andijon. The protestors had gathered to demand the
end of a trial of local businessmen charged with belonging to an Islamic terrorist group. The
night before, a group stormed a prison where those on trial were held and released hundreds
of inmates. There is a great deal of controversy about whether this group contained foreigntrained terrorists or was composed mainly of the friends and families of the accused. Many
freed inmates then joined others in storming government buildings. President Islam Karimov
flew to the city to direct operations, and reportedly had restored order by late on May 13.
The United States and others in the international community have called for an international
inquiry, which the Uzbek government has rejected. On July 29, 439 people who had fled
from Uzbekistan to Kyrgyzstan were airlifted to Romania for resettlement processing, after
the United States and others raised concerns that they might be tortured if returned to
Uzbekistan (see also CRS Report RS22161, Unrest in Uzbekistan: Context and Implications,
by Jim Nichol).
At the first major trial of fifteen alleged perpetrators of the Andijon unrest in late 2005,
the accused all confessed and asked for death penalties, and testified that the U.S. and
Kyrgyz governments helped finance and support the violence, and international media
colluded with local human rights groups and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in this
effort. The U.S. and Kyrgyz governments and several media organizations have denied such
involvement. Many Uzbek opposition party members and media and NGO representatives
have been arrested. Partly in response, Congress has amplified calls for conditioning aid to
Uzbekistan on its democracy and human rights record (see below, Legislation).
Democratization and Human Rights
A major goal of U.S. policy in Central Asia has been to foster the long-term
development of democratic institutions and policies upholding human rights. The United
States has worked with the ex-Communist Party officials who lead in the five states (even
in Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, where the current presidents were once lower-level party
officials). Particularly since September 11, 2001, the United States has attempted to
harmonize its concerns about democratization and human rights in the region with its
interests in regional support for the Global War on Terrorism. The New York Times alleged
on May 1 and December 31, 2005, that the Administration might have sent suspected
terrorists in its custody to Uzbekistan for questioning, a process termed “rendition.” While
not verifying such transfers to Uzbekistan, the Administration stated that it received
assurances that transferees would not be tortured.
Possible scenarios of political development in Central Asia have ranged from continued
rule in most of the states by former Soviet elites to violent transitions to Islamic
fundamentalist or xenophobic rule. Relatively peaceful and quick transitions to more or less
democratic and Western-oriented political systems have been considered less likely by many
observers. Some have suggested that Kyrgyzstan — because of its slightly wider scope of
civil liberties compared to the rest of Central Asia — could lead the region in democratic
reforms, All the Central Asian leaders have remained in power by orchestrating extensions
of their terms and by eliminating possible contenders. Besides the recent coup in Kyrgyzstan
(see below), there have been alleged coup attempts in Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and
Tajikistan, and the leaders in Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan face rising popular protests. In
December 2005, the NGO Freedom House gave Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan its lowest
possible ratings on political rights and civil liberties, including them among such countries
as North Korea, Libya, Cuba, Syria, Sudan, and Myanmar.
Popular protests in Kyrgyzstan against a tainted legislative election and economic
distress resulted in President Akayev’s relatively peaceful overthrow in March 2005. Some
observers hailed this coup as the third so-called “democratic revolution” in Eurasia, after
those in Georgia and Ukraine, and the first in Central Asia. (See also CRS Report RL32864,
Coup in Kyrgyzstan: Developments and Implications, by Jim Nichol.)
Democracy Pledges. During Nazarbayev’s 1994 U.S. visit, he and then-President
Clinton signed a Charter on Democratic Partnership recognizing Kazakhstan’s commitments
to the rule of law, respect for human rights, and economic reform. During his December
2001 visit, Nazarbayev repeated these pledges in a joint statement with President Bush. In
March 2002, a U.S.-Uzbek Strategic Partnership Declaration was signed pledging Uzbekistan
to “intensify the democratic transformation” and improve freedom of the press. During his
December 2002 U.S. visit, Tajikistan’s President Rakhmanov pledged to “expand
fundamental freedoms and human rights.” Despite such democracy pledges (the United
States still regards the U.S.-Uzbek Declaration as valid), the states have made little progress,
according to the State Department’s Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2005.
Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are generally viewed as the most repressive. Tajikistan
experienced many human rights abuses during its civil war, and the government appears in
recent years to be backtracking on respect for human rights. Non-favored faiths,
missionaries, and pious Muslims face religious rights abuses in all the states. Unfair elections
increase political alienation and violence aimed against the regimes. In its June 2005
Trafficking in Persons Report, the State Department placed Uzbekistan on a “Tier 2 Watch
List,” for having problems as a source country for human trafficking that they are making
some progress in addressing. Kazakhstan and Tajikistan were taken off the watch list but
were listed (as was Kyrgyzstan) as “Tier 2” countries that have human trafficking problems
they are addressing.
Among U.N. actions, the United States, Russia, and other countries in December 2003
approved a General Assembly resolution urging Turkmenistan to implement human rights
reforms. The U.N. Rapporteur on Torture in March 2003 completed a draft report that
concluded that police and prison officials in Uzbekistan systematically employed torture.
In November 2005, a U.N. committee approved a draft resolution for consideration by the
General Assembly to condemn the Uzbek government’s violence against civilians in Andijon
and to call on it to permit an international investigation. The Uzbek representative termed
the resolution a “political” attack launched by some EU members of the United Nations.
In Congress, Omnibus Appropriations for FY2003 (P.L. 108-7) forbade FREEDOM
Support Act (FSA) assistance to the government of Uzbekistan unless the Secretary of State
determined and reported that it was making substantial progress in meeting commitments
under the Strategic Partnership Declaration to democratize and respect human rights. P.L.
108-7 also forbade assistance to the Kazakh government unless the Secretary of State
determined and reported that it significantly had improved its human rights record during the
preceding six months. However, the legislation permitted the Secretary to waive the
requirement on national security grounds. The Secretary reported in May 2003, that
Uzbekistan was making such progress (by late 2003, the Administration had decided that it
could no longer make this claim; see below, Weapons of Mass Destruction). In July 2003,
the Secretary reported that Kazakhstan was making progress. Some in Congress were critical
of these findings. Consolidated Appropriations for FY2004, including foreign operations
(P.L. 108-199) and for FY2005 (P.L. 108-447, Section 578), and Foreign Operations
Appropriations for FY2006 (P.L. 109-102) retained these conditions, while clarifying that
the prohibition on aid to Uzbekistan pertained to the central government and that conditions
included respecting human rights, establishing a “genuine” multi-party system, and ensuring
free and fair elections and freedom of expression and media.
In mid-2004, State Department spokesman Richard Boucher announced that, despite
some “encouraging progress” in respecting human rights, up to $18 million in aid to
Uzbekistan would be withheld because of “lack of progress on democratic reform and
restrictions put on U.S. assistance partners on the ground” (in contrast, progress was reported
regarding Kazakhstan). International Military Education and Training (IMET) and FMF
programs, which are conditioned on respect for human rights, were among those affected.
The State Department reprogrammed or used notwithstanding authority (after consultation
with Congress) to expend some of the funds, so that about $8.5 million was ultimately
withheld. During an August 2004 visit to Uzbekistan, Gen. Myers criticized the cutoff of
IMET and FMF programs as “shortsighted” and not “productive,” since it reduced U.S.
military influence (see also below, Weapons of Mass Destruction). For FY2005, Secretary
of State Condoleezza Rice reported to Congress in May 2005 that Kazakhstan had failed to
significantly improve its human rights record, but that she had waived aid restrictions on
national security grounds. The Secretary of State in FY2005 did not determine and report
to Congress that Uzbekistan was making significant progress in respecting human rights, so
Section 578 aid restrictions remained in place.
Among recent elections, incumbent Kazakh President Nazarbayev won another term
with 91% of the vote in a five-man race on December 4, 2005. Many observers credited
economic growth in the country and some recent increases in wages and pensions as
bolstering his popularity. He campaigned widely and pledged democratic reforms and
poverty relief. Observers from the OSCE, COE, and the European Parliament assessed the
election as progressive but still falling short of a free and fair race. Problems included
restrictions on campaigning and harassment of opposition candidates.
On February 23, 2006, Kazakhstan’s interior (police) ministry announced that it had
detained Yerzhan Otembayev, the top aide to Nurtay Abykayev, the speaker of the Senate
(the upper legislative chamber), on suspicion of involvement in the February abduction and
murder of Altynbek Sarsenbayev, leader of the opposition Nagyz Ak Zhol (True Bright Path)
Party. Arrests included personnel in the national security committee. The police reported
that Otembayev had confessed to having Sarsenbayev killed for personal reasons.
Opposition politicians and others asserted that Otembayev’s alleged involvement indicated
that the assassination was ordered by other top officials. The U.S. FBI reportedly is assisting
in investigating Sarsenbayev’s murder.
Security and Arms Control
The U.S.-led coalition’s overthrow of the Taliban and routing of Al Qaeda and IMU
terrorists in Afghanistan (termed Operation Enduring Freedom or OEF) increased the
security of Central Asia. According to then-Assistant Secretary of Defense J. D. Crouch in
testimony in June 2002, “our military relationships with each [Central Asian] nation have
matured on a scale not imaginable prior to September 11th.” Crouch averred that “for the
foreseeable future, U.S. defense and security cooperation in Central Asia must continue to
support actions to deter or defeat terrorist threats” and to build effective armed forces under
civilian control. Kyrgyzstan, Crouch related, became a “critical regional partner” in OEF,
providing basing for U.S. and coalition forces at Manas (in 2005, U.S. troops reportedly
number about 1,500). Uzbekistan provided a base for U.S. operations at Karshi-Khanabad
(K2; just before the pullout, U.S. troops reportedly numbered less than 900), a base for
German units at Termez (in early 2006, German troops reportedly numbered about 300), and
a land corridor to Afghanistan for humanitarian aid via the Friendship Bridge at Termez.
Tajikistan permitted use of its international airport in Dushanbe for refueling and hosted a
French force (France reported 130 troops there in early 2005; they pulled out in November
2005). Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan provided overflight and other support.
To obtain Uzbekistan’s approval for basing, the 2002 U.S.-Uzbek Strategic Partnership
Declaration included a nonspecific security guarantee. The United States affirmed that “it
would regard with grave concern any external threat” to Uzbekistan’s security and would
consult with Uzbekistan “on an urgent basis” regarding a response. The two states pledged
to intensify military cooperation, including “re-equipping the Armed Forces” of Uzbekistan,
a pledged that appeared to be repudiated by Uzbekistan following events in Andijon.
Although U.S. security assistance was boosted in the aftermath of 9/11, such aid has
lessened somewhat since then as a percentage of all such aid to Eurasia, particularly in
FY2004-FY2005 after some aid to Uzbekistan was cut (see below). Security and law
enforcement aid was $187.55 million in FY2002 (31% of all such aid to Eurasia), $101.5
million (33%) in FY2003, $132.5 million (11.2%) in FY2004, and $148.5 million in FY2005
(11.3%). Of all budgeted assistance to Central Asia over the period from FY1992-FY2004,
security and law enforcement aid accounted for a little over one-fifth. Security and law
enforcement aid included FMF, IMET, and EDA programs and border security aid to combat
trafficking in drugs, humans, and WMD. To help counter burgeoning drug trafficking from
Afghanistan, the emergency supplemental for FY2005 (P.L. 109-13) provided $242 million
for Central Asia and Afghanistan.
In addition to the aid reported by the Coordinator’s Office, the Defense Department
provides coalition support payments to Kyrgyzstan, including base lease payments and
landing and overflight fees (overall authority and funding have been provided in FY2002FY2005 emergency supplemental appropriations for military operations and maintenance).
According to one 2005 report, the United States had paid $28 million in lease payments, and
landing and takeoff fees at Manas; $114 million for fuel, and $17 million to Kyrgyz
contractors. Uzbekistan received a payment of $15.7 million for use of K2 and associated
services, and the Defense Department in September 2005 announced an intention to pay
another $23 million. On October 5, an amendment to Defense Appropriations for FY2006
(H.R. 2863) was approved in the Senate to place a one-year hold on the payment. Despite
congressional concern, the Defense Department transferred the payment in November 2005.
The conferees on H.R. 2863 later dropped the amendment (H.Rept. 109-360; P.L. 109-359).
U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) in 1999 became responsible for U.S. military
engagement in Central Asia. It cooperates with the European Command (USEUCOM), on
the Caspian [Sea] Guard program, launched in 2003, to enhance and coordinate security
assistance provided by U.S. agencies to establish an “integrated airspace, maritime and
border control regime” for Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. A related hydrocarbons initiative
provides maritime security, crisis response, and consequence management aid to help the
Caspian regional states protect energy transport to the West. Russia has appeared to counter
U.S. maritime security aid by boosting the capabilities of its Caspian Sea Flotilla and by
urging the littoral states to coordinate their naval activities with Russia’s.
All the Central Asian states except Tajikistan joined NATO’s PFP by mid-1994
(Tajikistan joined in 2002). Central Asian troops have participated in periodic PFP (or “PFPstyle”) exercises in the United States since 1995, and U.S. troops have participated in
exercises in Central Asia since 1997 (Uzbekistan’s participation in PFP has been in abeyance
since events in Andijon). A June 2004 NATO summit communique pledged enhanced
Alliance attention to the countries of the South Caucasus and Central Asia.
According to some reports, the Defense Department has been considering possibly
setting up long-term military facilities in Central Asia termed Cooperative Security Locations
(CSLs; they might contain pre-positioned equipment and be managed by private contractors,
and few if any U.S. military personnel may be present). The Overseas Basing Commission,
in its May 2005 Report, acknowledged that U.S. national security might be enhanced by
future CSLs in Central Asia but urged Congress to seek inter-agency answers to “what
constitutes vital U.S. interests in the area that would require long-term U.S. presence.”
Closure of Karshi-Khanabad. On July 5, 2005, the presidents of Uzbekistan,
Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan signed a declaration issued during a meeting of the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO; see below, Regional Tensions) that stated that “as
large-scale military operations against terrorism have come to an end in Afghanistan, the
SCO member states maintain that the relevant parties to the anti-terrorist coalition should set
a deadline for the temporary use of ... infrastructure facilities of the SCO member states and
for their military presence in these countries.” Despite this declaration, none of the Central
Asian leaders immediately called for closing the coalition bases. However, after the United
States and others interceded so that refugees who fled from Andijon to Kyrgyzstan could fly
to Romania, Uzbekistan on July 29 demanded that the United States vacate K2 within six
months. On November 21, 2005, the United States officially ceased operations to support
Afghanistan at K2. In early 2006, Kyrgyz President Bakiyev reportedly requested that lease
payments for use of the Manas airbase be increased to more than $200 million per year and
at the same time re-affirmed Russia’s free use of its nearby base.
Weapons of Mass Destruction. Major U.S. security interests have included
elimination of nuclear weapons remaining in Kazakhstan after the breakup of the Soviet
Union and other efforts to control nuclear proliferation in Central Asia. The United States
has tendered aid aimed at bolstering their export and physical controls over nuclear
technology and materials, including because of concerns that Iran is targeting these countries.
After the Soviet breakup, Kazakhstan was on paper a major nuclear weapons power (in
reality Russia controlled these weapons). In December 1993, the United States and
Kazakhstan signed a CTR umbrella agreement for the “safe and secure” dismantling of 104
SS-18s, the destruction of silos, and related purposes. All bombers and their air-launched
cruise missiles were removed by late February 1994 (except seven bombers destroyed with
U.S. aid in 1998). On April 21, 1995, the last of about 1,040 nuclear warheads had been
removed from SS-18 missiles and transferred to Russia, and Kazakhstan announced that it
was nuclear weapons-free. The SS-18s were eliminated by late 1994. The United States
reported that 147 silos had been destroyed by September 1999. A U.S.-Kazakh Nuclear Risk
Reduction Center in Almaty has been set up to facilitate verification and compliance with
arms control agreements to prevent the proliferation of WMD. S.Res. 122, approved on May
25, 2005, commends Kazakhstan for eliminating its nuclear weapons.
Besides the Kazakh nuclear weapons, there are active research reactors, uranium mines,
milling facilities, and nuclear waste dumps in Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and
Uzbekistan, many of which reportedly remain inadequately protected against theft. Also,
Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan hosted major chemical and biological warfare (CBW) facilities
during the Soviet era. Kazakhstan is reported to possess one-fourth of the world’s uranium
reserves, and Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are among the world’s top producers of low
enriched uranium. Kazakhstan had a fast breeder reactor at Aktau that was the world’s only
nuclear desalinization facility. Shut down in 1999, it had nearly 300 metric tons of uranium
and plutonium spent fuel in storage pools (three tons of which were weapons-grade). In 1997
and 1999, U.S.-Kazakh accords were signed on decommissioning the Aktau reactor. CTR
aid was used to facilitate the transport of eleven kilograms of uranium in fuel rods from
Uzbekistan to Russia in 2004. CTR and Energy Department funds have been used in
Kazakhstan to dismantle a former anthrax production facility in Stepnogorsk, to remove
some strains to the United States, to secure two other BW sites, and to retrain scientists.
CTR funding was used to dismantle Uzbekistan’s Nukus chemical weapons research facility.
CTR aid also was used to eliminate active anthrax spores at a former CBW test site on an
island in the Aral Sea. These latter two projects were completed in 2002. Other CTR aid
helps keep Uzbek weapons scientists employed in peaceful research.
The FY2003 National Defense Authorization Act (P.L. 107-314, Sec. 1306) provided
for the president to waive prohibitions on CTR aid (as contained in Sec.1203 of P.L. 103160) to a state of the former Soviet Union if he certified that the waiver was necessary for
national security and submitted a report outlining why the waiver was necessary and how he
planned to promote future compliance with the restrictions on CTR aid. The waiver
authority, exercisable each fiscal year, expired at the end of FY2005. (The six restrictions
in P.L. 103-160 include a call for CTR recipients to observe internationally recognized
human rights.) On December 30, 2003 (for FY2004), and on December 14, 2004 (for
FY2005), President explained that Uzbekistan’s human rights problems necessitated a
waiver. Defense Authorizations for FY2006 (P.L. 109-163) provide a non-sunset waiver
authority, exercisable annually (see below, Legislation).
Trade and Investment
The Administration and others stress that U.S. support for free market reforms directly
serves U.S. national interests by opening new markets for U.S. goods and services and
sources of energy and minerals. U.S. private investment committed to Central Asia has
greatly exceeded that provided to Russia or most other Eurasian states except Azerbaijan.
U.S. trade agreements have been signed and entered into force with all the Central Asian
states, but bilateral investment treaties are in force only with Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.
Permanent normal trade relations with Kyrgyzstan were established by law in June 2000, so
that “Jackson-Vanik” trade provisions no longer apply that call for presidential reports and
waivers concerning freedom of emigration.
The emergence of Central Asia as a “new silk road” of trade and commerce is
challenged by corruption, inadequate roads, punitive tariffs, border tensions, and the
uncertain respect for contracts. Uzbekistan’s restrictions on travel have encouraged
Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan to explore building a major road to Kazakhstan that bypasses it.
All the states of the region possess large-scale resources that could yield export earnings, but
these challenges scare off major foreign investment (except for some investment in the
energy sector) to revamp, develop, or market the resources. The Kazakh and Turkmen
economies are dependent on energy exports but need added foreign investment for
production and transport. Uzbekistan’s state-controlled cotton and gold production rank
among the highest in the world and much is exported. It also has moderate energy reserves.
Kyrgyzstan has major gold mines and strategic mineral reserves, is a major wool producer,
and could benefit from tourism. Tajikistan has one of the world’s largest aluminum
processing plants and is a major cotton grower.
Energy Resources. U.S. policy goals regarding energy resources in the Central
Asian and South Caucasian states have included supporting their sovereignty and ties to the
West, supporting U.S. private investment, promoting Western energy security through
diversified suppliers, assisting ally Turkey, and opposing the building of pipelines that
transit “energy competitor” Iran or otherwise give it undue influence over the region.
Security for Caspian region pipelines and energy resources also has been a recent interest.
President Bush’s May 2001 National Energy Policy report suggests that greater oil
production in the Caspian region could not only benefit regional economies, but also help
mitigate possible world supply disruptions. It recommends U.S. support for building the
BTC pipeline and an Azerbaijan-Turkey gas pipeline, coaxing Kazakhstan to use the oil
pipeline, and otherwise encouraging the regional states to provide a stable and inviting
business climate for energy development.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), the Caspian region is emerging as
a significant source of oil and gas for world markets. Kazakhstan possesses the Caspian
region’s largest proven oil reserves at 9-29 billion barrels, according to DOE, and also
possesses 65 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas. Kazakhstan’s oil exports currently are
about 1.3 million barrels per day (bpd). Some U.S. energy firms and other private foreign
investors have become discouraged in recent months by harsher government terms, taxes,
and fines. Turkmenistan possesses about 101tcf of proven gas reserves, according to DOE,
among the largest in the world. (See also CRS Report RS21190, Caspian Oil and Gas:
Production and Prospects, by Bernard A. Gelb).
The Central Asian states have been pressured by Russia to yield portions of their energy
wealth to Russia, in part because Russia controls most existing export pipelines. Russian
shareholders have a controlling interest in the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which in 2001
completed a 930-mile pipeline that initially carried 560,000 bpd of oil from Kazakhstan to
Russia’s Black Sea port of Novorossiysk. In December 1997, Turkmenistan opened the first
pipeline from Central Asia to the outside world beyond Russia, a 125-mile pipeline linkage
to Iran. Niyazov signed a 25-year accord with Putin in 2003 on supplying Russia about 200
billion cubic feet of gas in 2004 (about 12% of production), rising to 2.8 tcf in 2009, perhaps
then tying up a large part of Turkmenistan’s production. Turkmenistan halted gas shipments
to Russia at the beginning of 2005 in an attempt to get a higher gas price but settled for allcash rather than partial barter payments. In early 2006, Turkmenistan again requested higher
gas prices from Russia. In October 2005, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan agreed in principle to
ship some Kazakh oil through the BTC pipeline, giving Kazakhstan an export route not
transiting Russia. The first Kazakh oil export pipeline not transiting Russia was completed
at the end of 2005, from Atyrau on Kazakhstan’s Caspian seacoast to the Xinjiang region of
China, with a capacity of 200,000 bpd. In early April 2006, Turkmenistan and China signed
a framework agreement calling for Chinese investment in developing gas fields in
Turkmenistan and in building a gas pipeline through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to China.
For much of the 1990s and until September 11, 2001, the United States provided much
more aid each year to Russia and Ukraine than to any Central Asian state (most such aid was
funded from the FSA account in Foreign Operations Appropriations, but some derived from
other program and agency budgets). Cumulative foreign aid budgeted to Central Asia for
FY1992 through FY2005 amounted to $3.8 billion, 13.6% of the amount budgeted to all the
Eurasian states, reflecting the lesser priority given to these states prior to 9/11. Budgeted
spending for FY2002 for Central Asia, during OEF, was greatly boosted in absolute amounts
($584 million) and as a share of total aid to Eurasia (about one-quarter of such aid). The
Administration’s aid requests since then have gradually declined in absolute amounts,
although it has continued to stress important U.S. interests in the region. Some observers
argue that although aid amounts have declined in dollar amounts in recent years, they appear
to loom somewhat larger as percentages of the total FSA and other Function 150 aid to
Eurasia (although such regional aid in recent years is still proportionately less than that
provided to the South Caucasian region).
Appearing to reflect growing concern about human rights abuses, lessening interest in
the region, and a push to reduce spending, Congress approved $99 million in FSA aid for the
states of Central Asia for FY2006, $17.5 million below the presidential request (P.L.
109-102). Besides bilateral and regional aid, the United States contributes to international
financial institutions that aid Central Asia. Recurrent policy issues regarding U.S. aid
include what it should be used for, who should receive it, and whether it is effective.
H.Res. 545 (Ros-Lehtinen)/S.Res. 295 (Lugar)
A resolution expressing the sense of the Congress on the arrest of Sanjar Umarov in
Uzbekistan. Iintroduced on November 10, 2005. Passed House on December 18, 2005.
S.Res. 295 introduced on November 2, 2005. Passed Senate on November 2, 2005.
H.Con.Res. 187 (Ros-Lehtinen)
Expressing the Sense of Congress Concerning Uzbekistan. Introduced June 22, 2005.
Calls for Uzbekistan to permit an international inquiry into the May 2005 violence there and
to carry out democratic and human rights reforms.
H.R. 3545 (William Delahunt)
Uzbekistan Freedom Promotion Act of 2005. Introduced July 28, 2005. Amends the
Foreign Assistance Act of 1961 to limit foreign assistance to the government of Uzbekistan,
unless the President certifies each fiscal year that it is upholding democratic and human
rights. The bill restricts arms exports and visas for Uzbek officials involved in human rights
abuses and permits freezing their assets. It calls for expedited U.S. admission of Uzbek
pro-democracy advocates fearing prosecution and a report to Congress on moving U.S.
military operations out of Uzbekistan.
H.R. 3189 (Christopher Smith)
Central Asia Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2005. Introduced June 30, 2005.
Authorizes $188 million for FY2006 and each subsequent fiscal year to encourage
democratization and respect for human rights in Central Asia. Similarly authorizes $15
million for expanding broadcasting to the region. Conditions aid to the governments based
on their progress on reforms.
S. 2749 (Brownback)
To update the Silk Road Strategy Act of 1999 to modify targeting of assistance in
recognition of political and economic changes in the Central Asian and South Caucasian
countries since 1999. Introduced May 4, 2006. Designates Afghanistan as a Silk Road
country. States that support democracy, mineral and other property rights, the rule of law,
and U.S. trade with energy-rich Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Turkmenistan, and with
energy-transporting states will strengthen U.S. energy security by enhancing access to
diversified energy resources. Urges close U.S. relations with the Silk Road states to facilitate
maintaining military bases near Afghanistan and Iraq. Recognizing that China and Russia
have acted at odds with U.S. security interests, such as by curbing the U.S. military presence
in Uzbekistan, calls for U.S. observer status in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization
(SCO) in order to promote stability and security. Calls for providing greater access to
Export-Import Bank loans, promoting the development of trans-Caspian oil and gas
pipelines, and supporting the building of a rail link in Kazakhstan that will facilitate the
shipment of oil and other goods to Europe. Calls for the Export-Import Bank and OPIC to
help set up a Caspian Bank of Reconstruction and Development. Urges consideration for
setting up a Silk Road Advisory Board (consisting of experts in agriculture, democratization,
banking, finance, legal reform, infrastructure planning, and oil and gas extraction and
transport), a private sector energy consultancy (to coordinate business projects and promote
production, transportation, and refining investments), and an annual meeting of Silk Road
aid sponsors and beneficiaries to be held in conjunction with the Energy Security Forum of
the U.N. Economic Council of Europe.
Table 1. U.S. FY1992-FY2004, FY2004, and FY2005 Budgeted Foreign
Assistance, FY2006 Estimated Aid, and the FY2007 Request
(millions of dollars)
Sources: State Department, U.S. Government Assistance to and Cooperative
Activities with Eurasia: FY2005 Annual Report; Congressional Budget Justification
for Foreign Operations, FY2007: Europe and Eurasia, and South and Central Asia.
a. FSA and Agency funds. Excludes some classified coalition support funding.
b. FSA and other Function 150 funds, not including Defense or Energy Department
funds; in FY2004 and thereafter, funding for exchanges is excluded.
Figure 1. Central Asia: Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan
Source: Map Resources. Adapted by CRS. (08/02 M. Chin)
Parallel scale at 40N