CA, Dec 21 (Central Asia Newswire). The U.S. must do more to ensure Central Asian states are able to fend off security threats, a U.S. Senate report released Monday said.
The report – written by the U.S. Senate committee on Foreign Relations, headed by Senator John Kerry – says the U.S. administration should work to strengthen trade ties between states, improve trade infrastructure, and help regional governments combat the drug trade in the wake of all troops leaving Afghanistan by the 2014 deadline.
“What happens in Central Asia will also affect the outcome in Afghanistan,” the report states.
Central Asian security will directly impact the Northern Distribution Network (NDN), which winds from Russia to Afghanistan to deliver non-military goods to troops on the ground in Afghanistan.
The NDN, which winds through Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan, has become increasingly important as more cargo is being rerouted from Pakistan.
“Since 2009, the United States has steadily increased traffic on the NDN, a major logistical accomplishment that has resulted in a series of commercial air and ground routes that supply NATO and U.S. operations in Afghanistan,” with close to 75 percent of ground cargo now being shipped through the network.
Policy recommendations include reinforcing regional borders, especially those shared with Afghanistan, and bolstering the Central Asia Counternarcotics Initiative (CACI), launched by the State Department in June 2011.
“To succeed, CACI will need to be coordinated across a range of interagency and intergovernmental counternarcotics initiatives,” the report states.
Overall, the report urges the U.S. to continue prompting political reforms to encourage more democratization in the region, a move which the committee believes will improve security as well.