Uzbekistan. At an international environmental conference in Uzbekistan’s capital Tashkent in September, Uzbek ecologists expressed concern that the previously so powerful Aral Sea may have completely disappeared in 2015, which would have severe repercussions on both population and environment. According to Countryaah, the capital of Uzbekistan is Tashkent. Uzbekistan shares the Aral Sea with neighboring Kazakhstan. The background to today’s problems are decisions made in the former Soviet Union in the 1960s. In order to increase cotton cultivation in the Central Asian sub-republics, it was decided to divert large quantities of water from the lake’s inflows, the Syr-Darja and Amu-Darja rivers, which caused the lake to dry out. In the long run, dehydration, according to ecologists, will undermine the growing population’s livelihood and force them out of the area.
With the start of the US war on Afghanistan in October 2001, Uzbekistan became one of the major allies of the superpower in carrying out the war because of its border with Afghanistan. Tashkent wants to build a railway through Afghanistan to the Indian Ocean itself. Today, the country has access to the sea only through Russia to the north. Karimov signed a military agreement with the United States, which made Uzbekistan’s airspace and military bases available. Only in December 2001 and following international pressure did Karimov decide to open the border with Afghanistan for humanitarian aid from the UN and other international organizations. Thanks to Uzbekistan’s assistance in the invasion, the country was promised 160 million. US $ in financial aid from the US.
In January 2002, Karimov’s proposal to extend the presidential term from 5 to 7 years was overwhelmingly approved by a referendum. The proposal was criticized by the West, which believed that Karimov sought to remain lifelong on the presidential post.
President Karimov visited the United States, where the two countries signed several cooperation agreements. Having existed for 5 years, the March 2002 Uzbekistan Human Rights Association was officially recognized as the country’s first fully independent human rights organization. Acc. the organization’s members were due to the recognition of international pressure on the government and Karimov’s visit to the United States.
In September, an old border dispute with Kazakhstan was finally resolved.
Despite a ban since 1992, opposition party Erk (Freedom) held a first national meeting in June 2003. In December, Prime Minister Otkir Sultanov was replaced by Shavkat Mirziyayev.
In March 2004, about 20 people were killed by bombs and gunshot wounds. The government placed responsibility for the killings of Islamic extremists.
In April, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development announced that it was reducing economic aid to Uzbekistan due to the slowness in implementing economic reforms and the gradual deterioration of the human rights situation. The Development Bank had asked the government to guarantee an improvement in the human rights situation in 2003 and a restructuring of the economy. But in none of the areas had progress been made when the bank decided to reduce aid. The bank continued its cooperation only with the private sector and with some projects within the public sector.
In late July, authorities confirmed that 3 explosions had taken place near the US and Israeli embassies in Tashkent. Another explosion occurred in the State Attorney’s Office. At least two Uzbeks died in the explosion at the Israeli embassy. Acc. Interior Minister Zakirdzhon Almatov injured 5 people as a result of the explosion in the state prosecution. Immediately after the explosions, Karimov canceled his vacation in the Crimean peninsula and returned to Tashkent.
The attacks took place shortly after the launch of a series of lawsuits against suspected Islamic activists accused of complicity in a series of bomb explosions and gunfire in March of that year. The activists were charged with terrorism, religious extremism and attempts to overthrow the government.