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Afghanistan: Don’t Overlook the Other Regional Casualty

A Eurasianet partner post from Oxford University Press

NATO leaders missed an opportunity during their recent summit in Chicago. In addition to trying to garner international support for an Afghanistan drawdown and stabilization strategy, they also should have considered the overlooked toll that the Afghan campaign has taken on the adjacent Central Asian states. Western security assistance has made the Central Asian states more authoritarian and more corrupt, while these trends are only likely to deteriorate as the drawdown of US and ISAF forces accelerates.

From the very outset the United States treated Central Asia instrumentally, as a region in support of the coalition effort in Afghanistan. The US established supply bases in Karshi-Khanabad (K2) in Uzbekistan and at the Manas airport, near Kyrgyzstan’s capital of Bishkek, and secured overflight rights and refueling agreements from all of the Central Asian states. US defense officials also launched a host of cooperative programs to provide training and resources for counterterrorism and border management for Central Asian security services.

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Alexander Cooley is the Tow Professor of Political Science at Barnard College, Columbia University and author of Great Games, Local Rules: The New Great Power Contest in Central Asia, forthcoming with Oxford University Press (July 2012). Cooley is also a board member of the Open Society Foundation’s Central Eurasia Project. EurasiaNet operates under OSF’s auspices. A version of this commentary first appeared on the blog of Oxford University Press.

A Eurasianet partner post from Oxford University Press

Afghanistan: Don’t Overlook the Other Regional Casualty

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