Uzbekistan is a country of 25 million people located in Central Asia. Its neighbors are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Turkmenistan. It was a part of the Soviet Union until it became independent in 1991. Since then it has been governed by a cult of personality led by President Islam Karimov. He imposed a totalitarian regime which has used torture against political opponents (boiling them alive, for example) and been a destination for individuals who are subjected to Extraordinary Rendition.
In the immediate aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Uzbekistan allowed the United States to use its Karshi-Khanabad Airbase for its war against the Taliban regime in Afghanistan. However, in May, 2005, the Uzbek governnment shot hundreds of protesters and when the U.S. protested, American forces were forced to leave the base.