Uzbekistan, the most strategically situated Central Asian country, has exhibited the most appalling record on human rights and democratic reforms. Yet, post-September 11, there has been a transformation in US policy. US troops are now stationed there; Washington has put the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan on its list of terrorist organizations; and the Bush administration has promised to triple aid to President Karimov's highly authoritarian regime. This book explores the central question from a longer-term Uzbek point of view: to what extent are closer ties between Washington and Tashkent contributing to political reforms inside Uzbekistan? It describes political events since independence, including the emergence of a radical Islamic opposition; analyses how September 11 has catalysed a transformation in Washington's attitude towards a perceived common Islamic enemy; and examines the possible beginnings of a retreat from Soviet-style politics.