Mass protests erupted in Kazakhstan last week over a twofold hike in fuel prices, and were soon followed by rioting and looting. This prompted Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev to declare a nationwide state of emergency, effective until 19 January.
President Tokayev said that the withdrawal of a CSTO peacekeeping contingent, sent to the nation to restore order, would begin in two days and would take no more than 10 days.
“The main mission of the CSTO peacekeeping forces has been successfully completed, in two days a phased withdrawal of the united CSTO peacekeeping contingent will begin. The process of withdrawal of the contingent will take no more than 10 days,” Tokayev said.
Kazakhstan has appealed to the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), requesting peacekeepers assistance, on legal grounds since control over Almaty could have been lost, Tokayev said .
“The plan of attack on Kazakhstan included a number of different aspects … Since it was an armed aggression on the part of international terrorism, Kazakhstan legally appealed to its partners in the Collective Security Treaty with a request to send a peacekeeping contingent … We could have completely lost control over Almaty,” Tokayev told lawmakers.
Additionally, he said that the acute phase of a counterterrorist operation in Kazakhstan had been generally passed, noting that the situation is stable in all regions.
The president added that a terrorist war was unleashed against the country.
“A terrorist war was unleashed against our country. The enemy showed extreme cruelty and readiness to take any steps. He sowed fear among the population in order to suppress even the very idea of resistance. The plan of attack on Kazakhstan included a number of different aspects: military, political, ideological, disinformation and others,” Tokayev told lawmakers.
The leader lashed out at the country’s National Security Committee, noting that the committee failed to detect the threat to the country’s national security.
“Professionals worked on the preparation of the seizure of power in Kazakhstan,” the president said, noting that the attempted coup failed.
Earlier in January, a wave of protests swept across Kazakhstan, following a twofold rise in gas prices. The Kazakh authorities said the protest were hijacked by terrorist elements seeking to topple the government.
Tokayev declared a nationwide state of emergency, effective until 19 January, and also invited the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) peacekeeping forces to help bring the situation under control. The peacekeepers were helping with protecting vital facilities in some regions.
The country’s interior ministry said that 17 Kazakh security officers were killed and over 1,300 were injured in the unrest.