What Are 'The Stans' and How Powerful Are They?

Central Asia is the birthplace of international relations and trade, but what do we know about the region's five independent republics?

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The Guardian: How much do you know about 'the Stans' of central Asia?
"After the New York Times mistakenly created the nation of Kyrzbekistan, we test your knowledge on central Asia. Do you know the difference between Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Tajikistan? And how about Uzbekistan?"

The Diplomat: The United States Just Closed Its Last Base in Central Asia
"What the closure of Manas' Transit Center means for Central Asia's future."

Foreign Policy: Stan'd if You Do, Stan'd if You Don't
"From the seemingly endless violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan to the personality cult surrounding the late dictator of Turkmenistan, the seven countries that comprise "the Stans" are stuck with a lousy brand. But two of these countries, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan, are looking for a makeover."