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U.S., Central Asian Countries Support Afghanistan

A frontier guard stands on the bridge to Afghanistan across Panj river in Panji Poyon border outpost, some 150km (94 miles) south of capital Dushanbe, Tajikistan.

The Central Asian countries have been an important part of international efforts against extremist elements in Afghanistan since 2001.

As the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF, slowly transitions the responsibility for Afghan security to the Afghan National Security Forces, its friends and neighbors in Central Asia will become more and more important to its success as a member of the community of nations.

That is why the United States supports Afghanistan’s efforts to work together with its Central Asian partners to enhance border security, strengthen regional counter-narcotics efforts, counter violent extremism, and to increase regional cooperation, trade and investment.

The Central Asian countries have been an important part of international efforts against extremist elements in Afghanistan since 2001. But Afghanistan’s integration into the regional economy is important for its self-sufficiency as well.

“As Afghanistan assumes full responsibility for its security, and most foreign troops leave; Afghanistan also will need to transition economically from an aid to a trade-based economy,” said Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake. “The best way to achieve that is to integrate Afghanistan into the larger region. The more Afghanistan is integrated economically into its regional neighborhood, the more it will be able to attract private investment, benefit from its vast mineral resources, and provide economic opportunity for its citizens.”

By working with Afghanistan to help ensure Afghanistan’s future stability, the countries of the region are also ensuring their own future stability. For example, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, and Tajikistan are selling electricity to Afghanistan to meet rising energy demand. Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Afghanistan are considering building rail lines that will facilitate new trade routes and outlets for Afghan goods. Kazakhstan is providing assistance to educate Afghan students and has expressed its intention to establish a Central Asia Disaster Management Agency.

“A secure, stable, and prosperous Afghanistan can only exist in a secure, stable, and prosperous region,” said Assistant Secretary Robert Blake. “As the security, political, and economic transitions in Afghanistan proceed, its neighbors in Central Asia will have increasingly important roles to play. The leaders of the Central Asian states understand the increasingly intertwined nature of security and the need for regional coordination.”