There are few regions of the world where the stakes are higher for U.S. national security than in South and Central Asia. As the USG tries to eliminate terrorist safe havens in Afghanistan and Pakistan, it also pursues a comprehensive strategy that addresses the root causes of violent extremism and instability throughout the region. This is also a region of extraordinary opportunity for new political and economic openings and for growing partnerships.
Building Security and Stability. Stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains a critical priority. As the United States works to defeat terrorist networks, expand government directives, and bolster local and national government capacity to meet the needs of their peoples, it also addresses regional causes of instability. State and USAID, along with the Departments of Defense and Justice, strive to improve border security, professionalize militaries and security forces, enhance law enforcement capacity to combat transnational terrorism and crime, and prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. U.S. assistance to Sri Lanka includes consolidating a lasting and equitable peace and enabling it to resume the impressive social and economic development it enjoyed prior to the start of its 26-year civil war. In Nepal, the United States continues supporting the development and implementation of a new constitution that respects the basic rights of all of its citizens and national development policies that overcome widespread poverty and a weak economy. In the Central Asian Republics, USAID programs focus on increasing jobs, democracy, and food security. This effort relates to the Afghanistan and Pakistan High Priority Performance Goal.
Expanding the U.S. Strategic Partnership with India. The Secretary refers to India as “…one of a few key partners worldwide who will help us shape the 21st century.” Building on a firm foundation of shared values and common interests, the USG will increase cooperation in bilateral, regional, and global spheres. U.S. assistance programs focus on trade, health, agriculture, education, science and technology, and infrastructure.
Increasing U.S. Engagement with Central Asia. The five states of Central Asia have supported U.S. and coalition efforts in Afghanistan by providing important access and supply routes. Enhanced U.S. engagement and assistance create greater opportunities for American business, instill greater respect for human rights, and establish sustainable solutions to natural resource challenges.
Nurturing Democratic Institutions and Responsive Governance. Across the region, The United States works to strengthen the rule of law, respect for human rights, independent media, civil societies that advocate effectively for citizens’ rights and participation, fair and open political processes, and strong government institutions that deliver basic services like health and education. The USG continues supporting democratic reform and governance in Bangladesh and in Central Asia. This effort relates to the Democracy, Good Governance, and Human Rights High Priority Performance Goal.