Now the old colonial power is making a concerted attempt to re-establish its influence in the region.
All the Stan's have one thing in common, they are a panorama of stunning landscapes and amazing peoples.
The Tien Shan and the High Pamirs are utterly unforgettable but my lasting memory from the first few weeks was an outdoor shashlik (kebab) stall in sub zero temperatures. The vendor passed me a beer and in the seconds it took to open the lid and bring the bottle to my lips the contents had frozen solid and tragically remained undrinkable.
Central Asia in winter is not for the unprepared.