ABSTRACT

Ask an onlooker of Central Asian affairs to name ten key security challenges that have confronted the region since independence and they are likely to include (in no particular order of importance): population density, land claims and possible irredentism in the Ferghana Valley; the Tajik civil war (1992-7) and post-confl ict resolution; regime collapse in Kyrgyzstan (2005 and 2010); interethnic peace (explaining as much how violence was avoided, such as between Russians and Kazakhs in Kazakhstan as where violence has tragically occurred, such as in Kyrgyzstan’s Osh/Jalalabad in 2010); environmental degradation; terrorism and extremism; drugs and people traffi cking; nuclear and biological weapons; government repression; and, to refer back to Kleveman (2004), the intense competition between outside actors to gain access to Central Asia’s massive energy reserves.