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Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Kazakhstan

Publisher United States Department of State
Publication Date 31 July 2012
Cite as United States Department of State, Country Reports on Terrorism 2011 - Kazakhstan, 31 July 2012, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/501fbcb2c.html [accessed 12 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Overview: In the wake of violent incidents reportedly linked to religious extremists, Kazakhstan intensified its efforts to counter violent extremism and took tangible steps to improve cooperation and information sharing with various countries and international organizations. In late September, President Nazarbayev signed a package of amendments on "religious activities" that tightened government control over religious organizations. While ostensibly aimed at countering violent religious extremism, the amendments severely restricted the peaceful practice of religion in Kazakhstan. Commentators linked negative reaction to the new amendments to the law on religion with violent acts committed in October and November. All attacks appeared to have been directed at representatives of the state's security organs, including the police, the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MVD), and the Committee for National Security (KNB). We refer you to the Department of State's Annual Report to Congress on International Religious Freedom (http://www.state.gov/j/drl/irf/rpt/index.htm) for further information.

2011 Terrorist Incidents: Incidents with potential links to terrorism included:

  • On May 17, a man blew himself up at the KNB regional headquarters in Aktobe. The police revised its initial pronouncement that the suspect was simply a criminal and later claimed that he and his wife were members of an extremist group.

  • On July 1, gunmen fired at a police post in the village of Shubarshy, located in the center of the Aktobe region, and killed two policemen. Although multiple local media outlets reported that the criminals were members of a radical Islamist movement, the MVD dismissed the group's connection to extremism, and maintained that their motives were purely criminal.

  • On July 2, one Special Forces officer was killed and three wounded during a police action to detain additional suspects in the Shubarshy shooting. On July 9, in the Kenkiyak village, police killed nine armed men suspected in the Shubarshy incident, while one Special Forces officer was killed. Police arrested two more suspects on July 11.

  • On October 31, two explosions took place, possibly targeting official buildings in Atyrau. An explosive device detonated in a trash can behind the regional governor's office. Shortly thereafter, another explosion occurred in a vacant lot surrounded by apartment buildings, 40-50 meters away from the regional procurator's office. The man who allegedly made the explosive device was the only casualty.

  • The Kazakh Procurator General's Office claims that members of a terrorist group called Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate, JAK) were responsible for the October 31 bombings in Atyrau. JAK allegedly is a militant organization formed by three Kazakh nationals. On October 24, the group threatened the Kazakhstani government and demanded the immediate repeal of the amendments to the religion law. Publicly claiming responsibility for the October 31 explosions in Atyrau, JAK emphasized that the suspected bomber accidentally detonated the bomb, which had not been intended to cause casualties. On November 30, the spokesperson of the Kazakh Procurator General's Office declared JAK a terrorist organization and prohibited its activities on the territory of Kazakhstan.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: On November 30, President Nazarbayev signed amendments to several legislative acts related to countering organized criminal, terrorist, and extremist activities. The new versions of these laws provide stricter punishments for terrorism- and violent extremism-related crimes.

Kazakh authorities made numerous arrests on terrorism-related charges:

  • A July 11-16 operation, in connection with May explosions in Aktobe and Astana and July attacks in Shubarshy, led to the arrest of over 200 suspects.

  • On September 23, the Aktau regional procurator announced the arrest of 29 persons on the suspicion of planning terrorist acts in Kazakhstan.

On December 3, police killed five alleged terrorists in Boralday of the Almaty region. According to the Kazakh Procurator General's Office, the group murdered two policemen in Almaty on November 3 and intended to conduct additional operations. The heavily-armed group resisted the police and killed two officers of the Arystan Special Forces unit of the KNB during the operation. Erik Ayazbayev, the alleged leader of this group, was killed December 29 in Kyzylorda after resisting arrest and firing at police.

Kazakhstan continued to participate in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Kazakhstan is a member of the Eurasian Group on combating money laundering and financing of terrorism (EAG), a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. As part of a significant effort to enhance the government's ability to counter possible terrorist financing, Kazakhstan adopted a law "On Combating Money-Laundering and Financing of Terrorism" in March. EAG's mutual evaluation report of Kazakhstan's anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance (AML/CTF) regime was adopted in June. The report indicated the necessity to further improve legislation in order to harmonize it with international standards. In July, Kazakhstan's Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) joined the Egmont Group, expanding its ability to informally exchange information related to terrorist financing and money-laundering crimes with other FIUs. Kazakhstani agencies were working on the national risk assessment on AML/CTF to determine priority areas that they should target to strengthen the regime.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Kazakhstan, having served as the 2010 Chairman-in-office of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), continued to play an active role in the OSCE's activities to counter transnational threats, including hosting a regional workshop on the implementation of United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1540.

On April 19, Kazakhstan ratified an agreement to participate in counterterrorism training programs for Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) member states. Security Council Secretaries of the SCO countries and the heads of the SCO's counterterrorism body met in Astana on April 29 to discuss ways to ensure security and stability. On November 30, a group of Central Asian states, including Kazakhstan, approved the Central Asia implementation plan for the UN global counterterrorism strategy.

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