(RFE/RL) U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry just wrapped up a trip through Central Asia that was aimed at reassuring the leaders of five states that U.S. support will continue, even as security concerns in the region rise.
Kerry's trip signals the start of a "post-Afghanistan relationship" with the U.S., whose withdrawal of most troops from the country will diminish its dependence on the military support and supply routes that it needed in Central Asia when it was actively prosecuting the war. At the same time, a resurgent Taliban on Afghanistan's border with Turkmenistan and Tajikistan, and the activities of Islamic State and indigenous extremist groups in the region, present new challenges for the U.S., and for Russia and China as well.
In a meeting with students in Kazakhstan, the Secretary acknowledged the challenges, while cautioning, "…terrorism is not a legitimate excuse to lock up political opponents, diminish the rights of civil society, or pin a false label on activists who are engaged in peaceful dissent."
RFE/RLive examines the secretary's trip and the new US – Central Asia relationship, with its implications for security and human rights in the region.
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