ASHGABAT, Turkmenistan - US Secretary of State John Kerry assured the rulers of Tajikistan and Turkmenistan on Tuesday of US support for Central Asian security against the spread of Islamic militancy from neighboring Afghanistan but urged them not to overreact in crackdowns on political Islam at home.
Wrapping up a tour of the strategic region, Kerry tried to allay concerns of the two countries, which share long borders with Afghanistan, that they will be forgotten as Washington draws down forces there at a time when Russia is reasserting itself in Central Asia.
The trip to all five of Central Asia's ex-Soviet republics was meant to show that the United States intends to stay engaged and wants to deepen economic as well as security ties.
But while Kerry was given the red-carpet treatment, the diplomatic niceties failed to translate into any major tangible achievements from the highest-level US visit in years.
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