Over the last fiscal year the US has spent over $1bln 300mln in Central Asia on goods for its troops in Afghanistan, which is seven times more than in the previous year. It is not specified what this money was spent on. The only information available is that the list of purchases contained food, water and construction materials. However, the larger amount of the money was spent on other things, political scientist Mikhail Troitsky is convinced.
“One can assume that the money was spent on buying fuels and lubricants in neighbouring countries, which is cheaper than delivering these materials by sea and safer than transporting them across Pakistani territory where such caravans were frequently attacked.”
The lion’s share of US money went to Ashgabat. The Pentagon spent $820mln in Turkmenistan. Experts believe that this republic, rich in oil and natural gas, supplied the Pentagon with oil products. The US military also spent $218mln in Kyrgyzstan, $137mln in Kazakhstan, almost $106mln in Uzbekistan and over $11mln in Tajikistan. Experts were surprised that the US bought less in Uzbekistan than in Kyrgyzstan or Kazakhstan. However, this disbalance is unlikely to be an indicator of political preferences, President of the New Eurasia Foundation Andrey Kortunov is convinced.
“I don’t think that these sums signify any preferences. We know that relations between Washington and Tashkent have been very friendly over recent years. So in my opinion, the US financial strategy was not aimed at disciplining Uzbekistan or demonstrating dissatisfaction with Karimov’s domestic policy.”
Larger spending in Central Asian republics is associated with a change in the US general strategy in the region. The withdrawal of a major part of the US contingent in Afghanistan is scheduled for 2014. Meanwhile, relations between the US and Pakistan have considerably deteriorated, which compels Washington to look for alternatives to the southern transit corridor across Pakistan. In this connection, the northern transit corridor across Central Asia is gaining more significance. It is clear that under the circumstances the Pentagon has to spend more on its maintenance. In addition, buying goods in Central Asian republics makes them more loyal to the US.