February 28, 2019 (Bishkek) – On February 27-28, U.S. Marine Corps Major General Michael E. Langley, Director of Plans and Policy for United States Central Command, visited the Kyrgyz Republic to meet with senior officials of the Kyrgyz Armed Forces following the Central and South Asia Chief of Defense Conference in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. During his visit to Bishkek, Major General Langley participated in bilateral discussions with senior officials of the Kyrgyz General Staff and was escorted by the Commander of the National Guard, Colonel Talant Ergeshov, to the Special Operations Brigade ‘Pantera’ for a demonstration of counter-terrorism military capabilities.
Langley’s visit is the latest in a series of visits by senior U.S. government officials aiming to strengthen bilateral relations and identify opportunities to expand cooperation between the United States and the Kyrgyz Republic. The Major General emphasized that U.S. engagement in Central Asia supports the independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity of the nations in this important region and contributes to their resilience in the face of security threats. He also noted that Central Asian states continue to be key strategic partners and significant contributors to security and stability in the region. In particular, Langley commended the Kyrgyz Republic for serving as a leader in the Central Asian region for democracy, as exemplified by the successful democratic transition of power in 2017.
The Central and South Asia Chief of Defense Conference is an annual event that rotates among Central and South Asian capitals; this year, United States Central Command (CENTCOM) Commander U.S. Army Gen Joseph L. Votel co-hosted the conference in Tashkent with the Uzbek Ministry of Defense. The conference provided an opportunity for Commander Votel to update regional senior military leaders on security issues in Afghanistan and to discuss current and future partnership opportunities. It also provided a platform for U.S. and regional partners to share knowledge and experiences, which strengthens partner nations’ abilities to work together to face emerging contingencies. Colonel Nurlan Kiresheev, First Deputy of the General Staff, represented the Kyrgyz Armed Forces at the conference and conducted several high-level meetings with the military officials from the United States and other Central and South Asian countries. The United States Central Command (USCENTCOM or CENTCOM) is a theater-level Unified Combatant Command of the U.S. Department of Defense with an area of responsibility that covers 20 nations, from Northeast Africa across the Middle East to Central and South Asia.