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Kazakhstan Pledges Military Aid to Central Asian Allies Amid Threats Emanating from Afghanistan

By Vusala Abbasova November 12, 2021

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Central Asia’s largest country, Kazakhstan, is highly interested in strengthening the region’s defense capabilities, especially after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan this August.

Kazakhstan has pledged to provide military-technical support to Central Asia allies amid security threats emanating from neighboring Afghanistan.

Following the plenary session held on Wednesday, the Kazakh parliament’s lower house, Majilis, ratified agreements on military-technical assistance to neighboring Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

According to Deputy Defense Minister Ruslan Shpekbayev, Kazakhstan has taken an obligation to deliver ammunition and special equipment to Kyrgyzstan at its own expense.

“The Kazakh side ensures and bears the cost of the delivery of military property by road to the settlement Koy Tash of the Kyrgyz Republic,” Sputnik.kz quoted Shpekbayev as saying.

While addressing the parliament, he further added that Bishkek could not transfer the received military equipment to the third state.

Kazakhstan will also provide military aid to Tajikistan. The transportation of the equipment will be implemented by rail from the Otar station in Kazakhstan’s Zhambyl region to Tajikistan’s Rohati station in Dushanbe.

“Due to the current security situation in the adjacent areas of the Tajik-Afghan border, as well as growing challenges and threats to regional security, the provision of military-technical assistance will enhance the capabilities of the armed forces of the Tajikistan Republic to repel these threats and strengthen the security of the Central Asian region,” Shpekbayev said.

According to Shpekbayev, military assistance to neighboring countries will not affect Kazakhstan’s armaments and defense capabilities since it will be provided from its excess reserves. 

Central Asia’s largest country, Kazakhstan, is highly interested in strengthening the region’s defense capabilities, especially after the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan this August. 

Regime change raised concerns in Nur-Sultan over the potential threats posed by such terrorist groups as Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State that may spread to Central Asia, a region nearly the size of the European Union. 

Six days after the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev instructed the country’s military to mobilize and prepare for any kind of eventuality. 

A country of slightly more than 19 million, Kazakhstan has the second-largest military power in the region, behind Uzbekistan, according to Global Firepower’s 2021 rankings. Rankings are based on the strength of individual combat arms, the number of servicemen, the length of a country’s borders, and oil reserves and labor availability.

According to Global Firepower data, Kazakhstan’s army is equipped with 300 tanks, 1,200 armored fighting vehicles, 407 rocket projectors, 238 military aircraft, 15 military naval vessels, and 22 combat helicopters. The lion’s share of Kazakh military-technical purchases is imported from Russia, which is considered to be the second-largest military power in the world after the US.

In recent years, Kazakhstan purchased Russian-made lightweight MiG-29 fighters, Su-25 attack aircraft, Su-27 and Su-30MK fighters, IL-76 military transport planes, and Mi-8/17 helicopters, BTR-80 armored personnel carriers, and the BTR-80A.