The CSTO mission of more than 2,000 troops was despatched at the peak of the crisis in the Central Asian country last week, after deadly clashes between protesters and security forces.
Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has announced that a contingent of Russia-led forces would begin leaving the troubled Central Asian country in two days, with the pullout to take no more than 10 days.
“The main mission of the CSTO peacekeeping forces has been successfully completed,” Tokayev said on Tuesday, referring to troops of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.
“In two days a phased withdrawal of the CSTO united peacekeeping contingent will begin. The withdrawal process of the contingent will take no more than 10 days,” he said, addressing the government and parliament in a videoconference call broadcast live.
The CSTO mission of more than 2,000 troops was despatched at the peak of the crisis last week, after armed clashes between government opponents and security forces and a looting spree rendered parts of the largest city Almaty almost unrecognisable.
Tokayev also appeared to have further bolstered his position, backing acting prime minister Alikhan Smailov to take on the job permanently – a nomination that won the unanimous support of lawmakers on Tuesday.
Kazakhstan has framed last week’s unrest that grew out of a peaceful protest against an energy price hike in the west of the country and left dozens dead as a coup attempt assisted by foreign terrorists, but the crisis has also laid bare infighting at the very top of the government.
Tokayev’s mentor, founding president Nursultan Nazarbayev, has yet to appear publicly since the crisis began, despite Nazarbayev’s aide claiming that the 81-year-old strongman was in the capital Nur-Sultan and in dialogue with Tokayev.
Former national security committee chief Karim Masimov – a key Nazarbayev ally viewed by many as perpetuating the retired president’s influence over government – was arrested on Saturday.
Tokayev appeared to have further bolstered his position, backing acting prime minister Alikhan Smailov to take on the job permanently – a nomination that won the unanimous support of lawmakers Tuesday.
Tokayev also blamed the committee formerly controlled by Masimov for deserting Kazakhstan’s cities during the crisis.
“Despite a sufficient military arsenal, without engaging in battle, they left the buildings, leaving weapons and secret documents there,” Tokayev said, pledging to reform the security structures to make “defense of citizens” their top priority.
Turkish Airlines to restart flights in Kazakhstan
Turkiye’s flag-carrier Turkish Airlines will restart flights to Kazakhstan from January 13, chief executive Bilal Eksi said on Tuesday, after the airline halted its flights over countrywide violence last week.
Eksi said commercial flights to Nur-Sultan would begin on January 13, followed by flights to Aktau on January 14 and Turkistan on January 15.
“Our talks with authorities on commercial flights to Almaty continue,” Eksi said on Twitter.