Why is Central Asia important to the United States?
The U.S. government learned a harsh lesson after we disengaged from Afghanistan in the early 1990s. We must not allow countries to become breeding grounds for extremism and terrorism. To prevent these destructive forces from taking root in Central Asia, we have intensified our efforts to help the countries of this area become stable, prosperous, and fully integrated members of the world community and the global economy. Our new relationship with the countries of the region includes not only increased military and counterterrorism cooperation, but also intense diplomatic engagement to press for fundamental political, economic, and societal reforms and to develop increased respect for human rights in accord with these countries’ United Nations and OSCE obligations. We have emphasized repeatedly that security, stability, and prosperity in the region is inextricably linked to democratic and economic reforms, a healthy respect for human rights, rule of law, and a willingness to work togethe