Kazakhstan’s parliament voted on Thursday to give President Nursultan Nazarbayev the power to send the country’s armed forces into Central Asian states facing threats from Islamic extremism, AFP reported. In a joint session of both houses of parliament, it was agreed that the president had the right to deploy Kazakh forces to fulfil international obligations to help keep peace and stability in the region. The move follows a summer in which Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz military forces were embroiled in fierce fighting with Muslim extremists who attacked their borders in August.
“Terrorist actions have gained a permanent character in the region and we should always be ready to offer military help to our nearest neighbours,” Defence Minister Sat Tokpakbayev said at the session. The decision corresponds to an earlier agreement by Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,Tajikistan and Uzbekistan to collectively fight organised crime, terrorism and religious extremism. In addition, Nazarbayev’s government agreed in October, as a signatory of the Collective Security Agreement
(CSA), to work towards the creation of a rapid reaction force to be mobilised in the case of an extremist threat to one of the states, Friday’s report said. The CSA signatories include Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Russia, Belarus and Armenia.
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