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Kerry ends visit to Central Asia

November 3, 2015

The US Secretary of State has reiterated to Central Asian leaders they are not being neglected by Washington. His visit comes as the US withdraws troops from neighboring Afghanistan.

John Kerry in Tajikistan
Image: Reuters/B. Smialowski

In his visit to Tajikistan on Tuesday, Kerry sought to reassure Central Asian leaders over their concern about the threat of Islamic extremism, especially as the US scales down its military presence in the region.

In the capital of Dushanbe, the Secretary of State met with President Imomali Rakhmon to reaffirm Washington's intentions of helping the country secure its border with Afghanistan.

The move comes as the US continues to withdraw troops from that war-torn country. Kerry pointed to the fact that the White House recently announced it was slowing the withdraw as proof it was not completely abandoning other countries in the region.

Concerns over human rights abuses

At the same time, Kerry emphasized on Monday during his visit to Kazakhstan that the fear of extremism doesn't allow governments to violate human rights.

Rakhmon, who has ruled Tajikistan since 1992, has been accused of using the fear of terrorism to crack down on his political opponents. Other governments in the region have faced similar accusations.

Afterward, Kerry visited Turkmenistan, the last stop on his five-nation tour of the region, where he was expected to deliver a similar message.

blc/kms (Reuters, AFP, AP)