Brief: U.S. To Build Military Training Facility For Tajikistan
2 MINS READJun 25, 2010 | 15:10 GMT
U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan Kenneth Gross said June 25 that the United States will allocate $10 million for the construction of a military training center in Tajikistan. Gross stated that this center would be restricted to Tajik armed forces and managed by Tajikistan's National Guard, while U.S. troops and weapons would not be deployed to the facility. Gross added that contracts had not yet been signed with the Tajik government and that construction would start "not earlier than 2011." This move is part of an American push to step up its presence in Central Asia by building anti-terrorism and counternarcotic facilities across the region, with U.S. officials showing interest in increased cooperation with each country, which includes Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. But the United States faces challenges in implementing these plans, particularly in countries like Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan, where any foreign military presence is currently illegal. Also, any U.S. moves would be monitored closely by Russia, which is the preeminent power in the region and holds several military bases in Central Asia, including in Tajikistan. Russia has boosted its presence and influence in the region, especially after the uprising and continued instability in Kyrgyzstan, and this would be a particularly challenging area for Washington to increase military cooperation without the consent of Moscow.