Circumstances have forced the United States and Uzbekistan into a long-term embrace that both states may welcome, but which neither state was prepared for. The obligations suddenly assumed by both Washington and Tashkent have complicated and potentially dangerous implications.
A US-Uzbek joint statement October 12 provided the clearest idea to date of the nature of the new strategic partnership, forged under crisis conditions surrounding the September 11 attacks in the United States and the ensuing campaign against terrorism. According to the statement, the United States has extended security guarantees to President Islam Karimov's government. In return, Uzbekistan has sanctioned the use of its military facilities by US armed forces for offensive military operations against Afghanistan.
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Anthony Baird is a Program Coordinator for the Committee on International Security Studies at the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in Cambridge, MA.