08ASTANA366, KAZAKHSTAN: USE OF MOBILE GROUPS ON THE BORDER

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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
08ASTANA366 2008-02-22 13:28 2011-08-30 01:44 UNCLASSIFIED Embassy Astana

VZCZCXRO4804
PP RUEHAST RUEHBI RUEHCI RUEHLH RUEHPW
DE RUEHTA #0366 0531328
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 221328Z FEB 08
FM AMEMBASSY ASTANA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1832
RUCNCLS/SCA COLLECTIVE
RHFJUSC/USCUSTOMS WASHDC

UNCLAS ASTANA 000366 
 
SIPDIS 
 
STATE FOR INL (BALABANIAN); SCA/CEN (OMARA), SCA/RA 
 
SIPDIS 
 
E.O. 12958: N/A 
TAGS: SNAR KCRM KCOR PREL KZ
 
SUBJECT: KAZAKHSTAN: USE OF MOBILE GROUPS ON THE BORDER 
 
REF: A. 07 ASTANA 3287 
 B. 07 ASTANA 3355 
 
1.  Summary:  The Kazakhstani Border Guard Service (BGS) is 
interested in establishing mobile border guard groups to combat both 
trafficking and corruption.  End Summary. 
 
2.  On November 29, Lieutenant-General Nikolai Rybalkin, Deputy Head 
of the Border Guard Service of the Russian Federal Security Service 
(FSB), announced that the Russian Border Guard Service has 
established special units (similar to SWAT Teams) that will work at 
the most vulnerable and dangerous parts of the border in order to 
more effectively fight crime.  Currently, such units are operating 
in Northern Caucasus, at the Kazakhstani-Russian border, and in the 
Far East.  Equipment and arms provided to the Russian mobile special 
groups allow them to operate both in the mountains and on the sea. 
The mobility of the groups is an important deterrent to those who 
may attempt to illegally cross the border.  Rybalkin also stated 
that the FSB will continue creating such units and sending them to 
other parts of the border. 
 
3. During an April 2007 visit to the Kazakhstani-Uzbek border, an 
INL program manager observed the work of a Kazakhstani mobile group 
at the Saryagash border checkpoint.  The group was made up of 
several mid-level officers from the Border Guard Division in 
Saryagash.  The mobile group made an unannounced visit to the border 
checkpoint and participated in passport processing of passengers. 
 
4.  During last year's annual message to the people, President 
Nazarbayev stated that the fight against corruption was one of 30 
priority tasks of the government.  The creation of border guard 
mobile groups directly addresses this task and will be a powerful 
weapon in the fight against corruption in the BGS.  Because of 
personnel shortages, the BGS hires former military personnel from 
the villages near the border as contractors.  Though this has solved 
the basic personnel issue, it has caused concerns.  Some 
entrepreneurs have found that friendships with the border guards 
help their business.  For the contractors, living among the people 
who cross the border on a daily basis presents opportunities for 
corruption.  The BGS hopes that the use of roving patrols with no 
ties to the community may help keep its contractors honest. 
 
5.  Because of several incidents on the border of Uzbekistan and 
Kazakhstan in April 2006, members of Parliament visited several 
villages and spoke with the citizens in order to better understand 
the causes of the incidents.  To their surprise, the deputies heard 
much more about corruption among the border guards.  They were told, 
for example, that it cost a driver of a commercial freight truck 
approximately 1,000 tenge ($8) to pass through temporary "entry 
points" unofficially opened by border guards. 
 
6.  The BGS is now planning a pilot project to fully equip and train 
one mobile group to prevent corruption, stop traffickers and those 
that illegally cross the border, and perform rescue operations on 
both land and sea.  Post expects to receive a request to fund the 
pilot phase.  It is not yet clear whether the GOK plans to request 
assistance from other international donors.  If the first mobile 
group proves its effectiveness, the Border Guard Service will 
introduce more at the most vulnerable parts of the border.  The GOK 
may be willing to provide the funding to create and support future 
mobile groups. 
 
7.  During his trip to the U.S., Deputy Head of the BGS 
General-Major Berkaliyev was impressed by the operation of the U.S. 
Border Patrol's BORTAC (tactical) and BORSTAR (search and rescue) 
teams and requested training from these units (ref A).  Such 
training, especially search and rescue, would be an integral part of 
the training program for mobile groups. 
 
8.  The BGS continues to struggle with the openness of the southern 
border, especially the border with Uzbekistan.  One of the most 
serious problems along the southern border is the narrow and 
under-protected green zone between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  The 
checkpoints along this border are equipped, staffed, and operating 
effectively; however, traffickers and illegal migrants have been 
able to avoid these checkpoints.  In other cases, traffickers have 
been willing to use violent methods to boldly cross through 
checkpoints, as was the case in December 2007 on the 
Kazakhstani-Kyrgyz border (ref B).  The development of mobile groups 
will allow the BGS to both patrol the green zone and quickly provide 
back-up to checkpoints in case of an attack. 
 
9.  Comment. As the BGS looks forward to strengthening not only 
border checkpoints but border posts along the green zone, U.S. 
assistance, training, and experience is needed more than ever. End 
Comment. 
 
ORDWAY

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