Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Caspian Focus: Nazarbaev slams security services

President Nursultan Nazarbaev has launched a sharp attack on Kazakhstan's security services for failing to prevent the continuing, if sporadic, spate of militant attacks on Kazakh soil. In a rare rebuke on 13 July, he said that he was dissatisfied with the work of law enforcement agencies, particularly the work of the National Security Committee”, the KNB. The president claimed that “people are outraged by the inability of law enforcement officers to prevent these crimes”.

His criticism came after a house near Almaty exploded, leaving eight dead including four children. A police investigation found guns, 'religious literature' and – most alarmingly – police uniforms. There was no indication of who was behind the explosion, which was presumably a premature detonation of bombs under construction.

Nazarbaev's anger is perhaps justified. The wave of attacks carried out under the umbrella of the militant group Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate) have apparently caught the police and the KNB on the back foot. The failure of the attacks to cause more casualties says more about the amateurishness of the militants than the skills of the security forces.

Events such as last November's one-man rampage in the southern city of Taraz, which left seven dead, have left the police and KNB looking weak and unprepared. The presence of police uniforms among the material found this month also suggests that the group is becoming more sophisticated.

For more news and expert analysis about the Caspian region, please see Caspian Focus.

© 2012 Menas Associates

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