07ASTANA3355, KAZAKHSTAN: BORDER INCIDENT UNDERSCORES LIMITATIONS

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07ASTANA3355 2007-12-21 10:26 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO7638
PP RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHTA #3355 3551026
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 211026Z DEC 07
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1407
RUCNCLS/SCA COLLECTIVE
RUEAORC/US CUSTOMS SERVICE WASHINGTON DC

UNCLAS ASTANA 003355 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR INL (BUHLER, BALABANIAN); SCA/CEN (OMARA), ISN/ECC 
(HARTSHORNE), SCA/RA 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR KCRM PBTS PREL KG KZ
 
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: BORDER INCIDENT UNDERSCORES LIMITATIONS 
 
REF: A. ASTANA 3287 
 
1. Summary:  On the evening of December 10, four people attacked 
border guards at the Karasu checkpoint on the Kazakhstani-Kyrgyz 
border.  As a result of the conflict, the border guards killed one 
person, police detained two suspects, and the others escaped.  The 
conflict with the border guards was apparently initiated to distract 
them from an illegal border crossing.  End Summary. 
 
----------- 
BACKGROUND 
----------- 
 
2. The international checkpoint Karasu is located in the Korday 
rayon of the Zhambylskaya oblast on the Kazakhstani-Kyrgyz border. 
It is located near the Chu River Bridge and is on the most direct 
route from Issyk-Kul in the Kyrgyz Republic to Almaty.  Issyk-Kul is 
a major tourist destination for Kazakhstanis and many tourists cross 
at the Karasu checkpoint during summer months.  The length of the 
Kazakhstani-Kyrgyz border is 1,205 km. 
 
3. The Border Guard Service (BGS) has complained that the 
Kazakhstani-Kyrgyz border is not well equipped and is planning to 
begin providing additional equipment on the border in 2008. 
General-Major Talgat Yessetov, Commander of the Ontustik Regional 
Department, stated in a November interview that traffickers and 
organized criminal groups are actively smuggling drugs and other 
contraband over the border with Kyrgyzstan for transit through 
Kazakhstan.  He also said that traffickers were willing to use 
increasingly aggressive means to cross the border.  Yessetov said 
that last summer there were several attempts to cross the border 
using a column of a hundred cars forcing their way through 
checkpoints.  He added that, whereas traffickers had been willing to 
attempt to intimidate border guards in the past, they were now 
willing to physically fight with the guards. 
 
4. During his recent visit (reftel A), Deputy Head of the BGS 
General-Major Berkaliyev also discussed the problems on the southern 
borders and said that the borders with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan 
were in the most dire need of additional equipment and assistance. 
 
--------------- 
LATEST INCIDENT 
--------------- 
 
5. On December 10, one person was killed and two detained when a 
group attacked the border post at Karasu.  According to official 
statements from the Ontustik Regional Department reported in the 
local press, two people arrived in a vehicle from the village of 
Karasu in Kazakhstan, stopped at the checkpoint, and were joined by 
two others, who had been hiding near the checkpoint.  The two border 
guards on duty were attacked and wounded one of assailants.  The 
attackers were unarmed and attempted to disarm the border guards. 
During the attack, a jeep passed through a shallow part of the Chu 
River into Kazakhstan.  As soon as the jeep crossed the border, the 
three assailants grabbed their wounded colleague and escaped towards 
the village of Korday.  The authorities later received a report that 
a wounded Kazakhstani died in the central hospital in Korday. 
 
6. Because the BGS has limited jurisdiction, the case was 
transferred to the Korday Regional Office of the Ministry of 
Internal Affairs (MVD).  As a result of MVD's investigation, 
officers detained two Kazakhstanis suspected of being involved in 
the incident.  No other suspects have been detained and the 
nationalities of the others involved in the incident have not been 
determined.  Though the investigation is ongoing, the authorities 
suspect that the driver of the jeep was transporting drugs, but they 
have not excluded the possibility that other types of contraband or 
even persons were transported in the jeep. 
 
------- 
COMMENT 
------- 
 
7. This incident clearly highlights the continued weaknesses at the 
southern borders.  In light of Kazakhstan's geographic position and 
the record opium harvest in Afghanistan, the BGS will face an 
increasingly serious threat of drug traffic.  As the BGS responds to 
this threat and increases security on the border, the traffickers 
may be pushed to use bolder methods and take greater risks, as seen 
in this incident.  The BGS will need to be aware of these risks and 
appropriately train their officers.  The Embassy will continue to 
assist the GOK in securing its border and examine its assistance 
programs for opportunities to provide the necessary training and 
equipment.  This issue will also be raised at the next international 
coordination meeting in January.  End Comment. 
 
ORDWAY

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