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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Embassies See Calm in Central Asia

Even as their governments bomb Afghanistan, the hundreds of U.S. and British citizens living in neighboring Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan are remaining calm, according to embassies there.

Aside from a few Americans living in Turkmenistan who have called on their embassy to help them leave, most U.S. and British nationals are staying put. In fact, the number of British citizens in Uzbekistan is increasing, due to an influx of humanitarian aid workers.

"We're not sure of the exact number, but we know we have more people in Uzbekistan than we did two weeks ago," said a British Embassy spokeswoman. "We received a lot of phone calls after the Sept. 11 attacks, but those have been dying down. Most of the calls now are from people in Britain ... worried about relatives here. The British community here seems relatively calm and quiet."

Americans in Uzbekistan seem to be equally relaxed. "There is not a sense of panic in this country," said a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy there.

The British and U.S. embassies in Uzbekistan have been encouraging this sense of calm. Neither has recommended that its citizens leave. Instead, both have issued travel warnings, encouraging foreigners to take simple safety precautions, like maintaining a low profile. They are also hosting town hall meetings, where ambassadors brief concerned citizens.

"People are almost too comfortable here," said the spokesman for the British Embassy in Uzbekistan. "So we're trying to get them to take basic security measures, like locking car and home doors."

The British and U.S. embassies in Turkmenistan are issuing the same travel warnings, holding similar meetings and reporting similar levels of tranquility.

"We have received a few requests for help here and there from people who want to leave," said a spokeswoman for the U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan. "But it's been nothing on a large scale."

The embassies say there are "hundreds" of U.S. citizens and close to 145 British citizens living in Uzbekistan, and 40 to 50 British and 20 to 25 American nationals living in Turkmenistan.