U.S. Government Reports
Country Report on Terrorism
August 18, 2011
Overview: Kazakhstan continued to combat domestic and international terrorism and took tangible steps to improve cooperation and information sharing with various countries and international organizations. Although no terrorist incidents occurred in 2010, the Kazakhstani government designated 16 organizations as "terrorist and extremist" groups. The government, acting principally through government-sponsored civil society organizations and state-controlled media, has labeled certain non-violent religious minority groups extremist, though it has not taken action to ban them. Kazakhstani authorities strengthened domestic counterterrorism efforts through reinforced legislation and prosecution of suspected terrorists, and expanded its participation in international and regional counterterrorism partnerships and activities.
Kazakhstan's National Security Committee and Ministries of the Interior, Defense, and Emergency Situations collaborated to strengthen border security, and conducted an increased number of counterterrorism training exercises prior to the December 1-2 OSCE Summit. Kazakhstan also completed its plan for the construction of a Material Protection, Control, and Accountability (MPC&A) training center, to be built with support from the U.S. Department of Energy at the Institute of Nuclear Physics near Almaty. In October, Kazakhstan reiterated its intent to establish an additional "Center to Combat the Illegal Use of Nuclear Materials" in Kurchatov to train Kazakhstani rapid response units to combat nuclear terrorism.
Legislation and Law Enforcement: The Kazakhstan government prosecuted suspected terrorists cases, including:
- In January, Kazakhstani officials detained a Tajikistani citizen who belonged to a banned Islamic group and subsequently extradited the detainee to Tajikistan, where he was wanted since 2006 for charges related to extremism and terrorism.
- In February, Kazakhstani authorities detained three men in western Kazakhstan. A Kazakhstani court sentenced the men to jail for supporting terrorist groups in the Russian North Caucasus Republic of Dagestan.
- In May, Kazakhstani authorities detained a Russian citizen wanted by the Russian Federation for smuggling weapons, munitions, and food to Chechen rebels engaged in terrorist activities. In August, Kazakhstan extradited this detainee to the Russian Federation.
- Kazakhstan held 30 asylum seekers from Uzbekistan in detention. The Government of Kazakhstan noted that Uzbekistan had provided strong evidence that the asylum seekers have links to terrorist organizations. By year’s end, in full consultation with UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UNHCR mandate refugee status was revoked from the detainees and one of the 30 had been extradited to Uzbekistan. A second was released. Uzbekistan continued to seek the extradition of the remaining 28. At year’s end the extradition was pending.
Countering Terrorist Finance: Since 2004, Kazakhstan has been a member of the Eurasian Group (EAG) on combating money laundering and terrorist financing, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body. As part of a significant effort to enhance the government's ability to combat possible terrorist financing, Kazakhstan adopted a law "On Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism" in March. The law created a strengthened financial monitoring system with the authority to observe and freeze suspicious financial activities. The government has repeatedly stated that it fully implements all its obligations under UNSCRs 1267 and 1373. The EAG began a mutual evaluation of Kazakhstan’s anti-money laundering/countering terrorist finance regime in October 2010.
Regional and International Cooperation: In December, Kazakhstan joined other Commonwealth of Independent States countries in concluding a package of treaties, which included a commitment to develop a cooperative counterterrorism program for 2011-2013. As Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2010, Kazakhstan hosted an October 14-15 international OSCE Conference on Preventing Terrorism. In September, the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism's (GICNT) held its Inaugural Implementation and Assessment Group Meeting and a Conference on Countering the Financing of Nuclear Terrorism in Kazakhstan. In April, Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev signed into law the Shanghai Cooperation Organization agreement on joint counterterrorism exercises. Kazakhstan also hosted the Shanghai Cooperation Organization's September "Peace Mission 2010" counterterrorism military exercise. In June, Kazakhstan actively participated in the Collective Security Treaty Organization's joint counterterrorism exercise.
Countering Radicalization and Violent Extremism: Kazakhstan actively promoted intercultural and religious dialogue at the international level. In particular, Kazakhstan hosted in Astana the June OSCE Conference on Tolerance and Non-Discrimination. In June, Kazakhstan's President Nazarbayev proposed the establishment of a Tolerance and Non-Discrimination Center in Central Asia. As 2010 Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE, Kazakhstan also advocated strongly for the establishment of an OSCE high commissioner for inter-ethnic and inter-religious tolerance to counteract violent extremism. During the October OSCE Conference on Preventing Terrorism, Kazakhstan's Ambassador-at-Large in charge of OSCE issues, Madina Zharbussynova, responded favorably to a U.S. proposal to help organize an OSCE conference to support the role that women play in countering violent extremism in Central Asia and Afghanistan. However, on the national level the government has generally restricted such dialogue to those religious groups considered “traditional,” such as the government-backed Spiritual Association of Muslims of Kazakhstan, the Russian Orthodox Church, the Jewish community, and the Roman Catholic Church.
In October, Kazakhstan hosted the World Forum of Spiritual Culture, which brought together high-ranking leaders from various countries and world religions to foster inter-faith dialogue and collectively condemn violent extremism. In recognition of President Nazarbayev's active role in promoting global interfaith dialogue, the East West Institute awarded President Nazarbayev its 2010 Peace and Preventative Diplomacy Award. However, as noted in the State Department’s Annual Report on International Religious Freedom, the government continued to restrict Muslim religious groups not affiliated with the government-recognized Spiritual Association of Muslims of Kazakhstan and minority religions seen as “nontraditional.”