International organizations

Central Asian states belong to many international organizations that promote cooperation in the economic, security, and other spheres. Membership or participation in these organizations provide the Central Asian countries opportunities to foster bilateral and multilateral relations with a number of countries:

  • The United Nations provides links with all countries.  In addition, the UN Regional Center for Preventive Diplomacy based in Ashgabat (Turkmenistan) provides a structure for limited regional activities.
  • The OSCE links the Central Asian countries to Europe, the U.S. and Canada.
  • The Partnership for Peace provides links with NATO.
  • The CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and its associated groupings—in particular, the Eurasian Economic Community and the Collective Security Treaty Organization—provide links with Russia and other post-Soviet states.
  • The Shanghai Cooperation Organization links Central Asian states except Turkmenistan with China and Russia.
  • The Economic Cooperation Organization provides links with Azerbaijan, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan.
  • The Inter-State Coordinating Commission for Water Resources links the Central Asian states with each other.
Security links primarily with Russia and NATO

Some Central Asian states rely on Russian assistance in border defense, and participate in the CIS air defense system.

At the same time, they receive assistance from NATO in reforming, equipping, and training their armed forces. Initially, a joint Kazakh-Uzbek-Kyrgyz peacekeeping battalion, known as CENTRASBAT, was trained within the framework of NATO's Partnership for Peace program. Unit elements took part in annual exercises during 1996-2002. Since then, the three states have preferred to focus on training of their forces alone.

The Central Asian states have provided use of their airspace and facilities for logistical support to U.S. forces in Afghanistan. The Northern Distribution Network’s various routes were moving 40% of NATO material and 85% of its fuel to Afghanistan by 2011. The Network is likely to be a primary route for the eventual withdrawal of NATO equipment as well.

A few Central Asian countries also have security ties with China.