ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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NATO Seeks a Foothold in Central Asia

Nato seeks a Foothold in Central asia Is the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation acting on behalf of the United States in seeking a presence in central Asia?

Amidst the high profile dignitaries who attended the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s (NATO) Bucharest summit last month, the presence of two unlikely guests, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov (president of Turkmenistan) and Islam Karimov (president of Uzbekistan) was ignored. But the presence of these two presidents was significant since it brought out into the open the calculated interest that NATO has in central Asia.

The us-led intervention in Afghanistan in 2001 and the subsequent creation of the International Security Assistance Force (IsAF) led by NATO, under the authority of the United Nations (uN) security council brought a heightened awareness of the importance of the surrounding region to the security and stability of Afghanistan. The Bucharest communiqué characterised NATO’s commitment to IsAF operating in that country as “our top priority”. This is an important statement as the Afghanistan assignment is t he alliance’s first out- of-area mission. Therefore, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, both of which border Afghanistan, have a potentially major role to play in NATO’s efforts there. It also indicates a future direction for the alliance outside Europe.

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