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U.S. Hopes to Build on Cooperation With Uzbekistan

July 12, 2019 | BY David Vergun

Acting Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper hosted an enhanced honor cordon to welcome his counterpart from Uzbekistan for a meeting to discuss the military relationship between their countries.

Before today's meeting, Esper said it's a pleasure to host Defense Minister Bakhodir Kurbanov's first visit to the United States since taking office in February.

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Video by Air Force Tech. Sgt. Jared Whitecar, DOD

"Uzbekistan is a respected and valued partner, especially in support of military operations in Afghanistan," Esper told Kurbanov.

The United States and Uzbekistan work closely on issues such as counterterrorism, border security and building defense institutions, Esper said, noting that Uzbekistan is developing a curriculum for the Academy of the Armed Forces of Uzbekistan. 

Acting Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper stands at the top of Pentagon steps with Uzbekistan Defense Minister Bakhodir Kurbanov.
Official Meeting
Acting Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper meets with the Uzbekistan Defense Minister Bakhodir Kurbanov in Washington, July 12, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith, DOD
VIRIN: 190712-D-SV709-0203

As part of that development, Esper said, he noted that Kurbanov toured several sites across the United States, related to that effort, including the Defense Language Institute at Joint Base San Antonio, Texas, where three Uzbek military officers are learning English, and Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, where an Uzbek pilot will participate in the Aviation Leadership Program next year. 

"We are looking for additional ways to grow our cooperation and will discuss this today," he added.

Esper mentioned that Uzbekistan already has a good military-to-military relationship with the U.S., not only in Afghanistan, but also in the State Partnership Program, in which Uzbekistan and the Mississippi National Guard are partners.

Men chat
Military Chat
Air Force Col. Billy Murphy, Ardent Sentry exercise director, explains to Uzbek Gen. Col. Bakhodir Tashmatov why effective communication between the Mississippi National Guard and the federal, state and local partners is vital to saving lives during na Ardent Sentry tour at Camp McCain, Miss., June 4, 2019.
Photo By: Army Sgt. Michael Needham
VIRIN: 190604-A-XA218-650C
People offload boxcar
Flour Offload
Baking flour imported through Uzbekistan arrives in Niababad, Afghanistan, where Afghan laborers offload 100-pound-plus bags onto waiting trucks for shipment to Afghan markets, Oct. 13, 2013.
Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Timothy Lawn
VIRIN: 131013-A-WQ129-009
Two men look at laptop
Simulated Security
A Uzbekistan military officer, right, works with a Mongolian military officer to assess a simulated security scenario during exercise Regional Cooperation 18 at Camp Edwards on Joint Base Cape Cod, Mass., Sept. 17, 2018.
Photo By: Tom Gagnier, U.S. Central Command
VIRIN: 180917-D-VG904-036

Kurbanov said it's a big honor to be in the United States on this official visit, and he expressed personal gratitude to Esper for making the visit possible. 

Kurbanov added that today's visit is an extension of the May 2018 meeting between the U.S. and Uzbek presidents.