Obama’s policy toward Central Asia remains same after reelection

Azerbaijan, Baku, Nov. 8 / Trend V. Zhavoronkova/

Since the U.S. President Barack Obama was re-elected it is safe to assume that the U.S. policy toward Central Asia will remain much as it has been for the last four years, the U.S. expert on Central Asia Bruce Pannier believes.

"But I would imagine efforts toward preparing the Central Asian governments for a possible, some might say probable, deterioration in the situation in Afghanistan will be higher on the U.S. list of priorities as the 2014 withdrawal date approaches," Pannier, an expert of Radio Liberty, told Trend on Friday.

Obama was re-elected to the post of the U.S. president on November 6. Central Asia is an important region for the U.S. especially due to the country's operation in Afghanistan.

"The U.S. has already been offering help with improvements in border security, which helps to serve the interests of the Central Asian governments," Pannier said.

Expert believes the U.S should send a message to the Central Asian governments in the upcoming months that coordinated regional help for neighboring Afghanistan is essential to establish security in Afghanistan.

"But, it is more difficult than it sounds," he said.

One could argue here that involving all, or as many as possible Central Asian countries in Western-U.S. plans to keep supplying Afghanistan after 2014 provides the Central Asian governments some common ground to expand cooperation with Afghan authorities who represent the entire country, not only warlords in ethnic enclaves, Bannier believes.

"There might be a "golden opportunity" coming for the U.S. to at least temporarily cement such cooperation," he said.

As for which countries would be most involved in the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, expert added that ideally all would be involved but strategically all the U.S. really needs is Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan because the railway between Europe and Afghanistan runs through both countries.

"It would be helpful to continue using airbases in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan but the withdrawal of equipment is best accomplished by rail and the rail link leaving Afghanistan goes first into Uzbekistan then Kazakhstan, Russia and on westward," he added.

In any case the U.S. military already uses some facilities in these countries, Pannier said.

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