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Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
10ASTANA251 2010-02-22 07:07 2010-12-13 21:09 SECRET Embassy Astana
Appears in these articles:
DE RUEHTA #0251/01 0530703
R 220703Z FEB 10
2/22/2010 7:03
Embassy Astana

DE RUEHTA #0251/01 0530703
R 220703Z FEB 10

S e c r e t section 01 of 14 astana 000251


State for sca/cen, s/srap

E.o. 12958: decl: 03/06/2059
Tags: pgov, prel, econ, epet, pinr, marr, snar, kz
Subject: kazakhstan: scenesetter for centcom commander
general petraeus

Classified By: Ambassador Richard E. Hoagland, 1.4 (b), (d)

1. (SBU) General Petraeus, on behalf of Ambassador
Hoagland, and the Department of Defense and Embassy Astana
country teams, we extend a warm welcome on the occasion of
your upcoming visit to Astana, Kazakhstan.

Visit overview

2. (S) The Office of the Defense Attache and your staff are
working toward finalizing your visit itinerary. You are
scheduled to arrive in Astana the evening of March 9, and are
scheduled to depart the morning of March 10. This visit will
further strengthen an already strong bilateral relationship
in support of our strategic interests. On March 10, we are
working to schedule meetings with the President, Minister of
Defense, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the National
Security Council.

Domestic political perspective

3. (C) While the Government of Kazakhstan articulates a
strategic vision of a democratic society, it has lagged on
the implementation front. The leadership remains resistant
to competitive political processes, and the situation is
complicated by the fact that President Nazarbayev is
extraordinarily popular, while the opposition is weak,
fractured, and comprised principally of former Nazarbayev
loyalists who fell out of favor. In May 2007, significant
amendments were adopted to Kazakhstan's constitution which
were touted as strengthening parliament, but also removed
terms limits on Nazarbayev. In parliamentary elections held
in August 2007, Nazarbayev's Nur Otan party officially
received 88 percent of the vote and took all the seats in
parliament, which OSCE observers concluded did not meet OSCE
standards. On a positive note, President Nazarbayev has
taken positive steps that could facilitate a transition to a
more democratic system in the long term. His Bolashak
program provides scholarships for several thousand
Kazakhstanis to receive higher education abroad, mostly in
the West, where they absorb Western ideas and values.
Additionally, Nazarbayev has brought into government service
a new generation of young, ambitious bureaucrats ) many of
whom studied in the West through Bolashak or U.S.
Government-sponsored programs.

4. (C) When Kazakhstan was selected as 2010 OSCE chairman at
the November 2007 OSCE Madrid OSCE Ministerial meeting,
Foreign Minister Tazhin publicly committed that his
government would amend Kazakhstan,s election, political
party, and media laws in accordance with OSCE and Office of
Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR)
recommendations. (NOTE: Tazhin also promised that as OSCE
chairman, Kazakhstan would support the OSCE's "human
dimension" and preserve ODIHR,s mandate. END NOTE). The
amendments were finally signed into law in February 2009.
While key civil society leaders were disappointed that the
new legislation did not go further, we consider them to be
steps in the right direction, and will continue pressing for
further reforms. While Kazakhstan prides itself on its
religious tolerance, parliament passed legislation in late
2008 which would have restricted the religious freedom of
minority religious groups not traditional to Kazakhstan.
Rather than sign the legislation, President Nazarbayev sent
it for review to the Constitutional Council (Court), which
ultimately declared the legislation to be unconstitutional.
On July 10, Nazarbayev signed into law Internet legislation
that provides a legal basis for the government to shut down
and block websites whose content allegedly violates the
country,s laws. This appears to be a step in the wrong
direction at a time when the Kazakhstan,s record on
democracy and human rights is in the spotlight because of its
impending OSCE chairmanship. The legislation likely
originated from the government,s desire to be able to

Astana 00000251 002 of 014

readily block access to web postings from Rakhat Aliyev,
Nazarbayev,s ex-son-in-law, who, from his self-imposed exile
in Austria, has put embarrassing materials and articles about
Nazarbayev on various Internet sites. We have expressed our
disappointment that the legislation was enacted, and have
urged the government to implement it in a manner consistent
with Kazakhstan,s OSCE commitments on freedom of speech and
freedom of the press.

International political perspective

5. (C) President Nazarbayev carefully balances Kazakhstan,s
relations with Russia, China, the United States and the EU )
what is termed a &multi-vector8 foreign policy. The
Kazakhstanis consider Russia their most important
international partner, and Russia,s influence is
unparalleled in Kazakhstan due to long historical ties,
Kazakhstan,s large ethnic Russian population, and the
predominance here of the Russian language ) which means most
Kazakhstanis obtain their news from Russian,s broadcast and
print media. Kazakhstan,s close relationship with the
United States serves as an essential counterweight,
reinforcing Kazakhstan,s sovereignty and independence and
helping it stave off pressure from both its giant neighbors
) Russia to the north and China to the east. For the
Kazakhstanis, high-level interactions with the United States
are not only substantively important, but also symbolically
important, sending a signal to Moscow that we remain closely
engaged despite Moscow,s assertion that Central Asia is its
&privileged sphere of influence.8

Economic perspective

6. (C) Kazakhstan is the region's economic powerhouse, with
an economy larger than that of all the other Central Asian
states combined. Economic growth averaged over 9% a year
during 2005-07, before dropping to 3% in 2008 with the onset
of the global financial crisis. The contracted by about 2%
in 2009, but positive growth is again expected in 2010.
While the country's economic success is partly due to its
fortuitous natural resource deposits, astute macroeconomic
policies and extensive economic reforms have also played an
important role. Kazakhstan has a modern banking and
financial system, a well-endowed pension fund, and a
transparent sovereign wealth fund with approximately $20
billion in assets. The government has taken aggressive steps
to tackle the domestic reverberations of the world economic
crisis, allocating $21 billion to take equity stakes in
private banks, prop up the construction and real-estate
sectors, and support small- and medium-sized enterprises and
agriculture. Kazakhstan,s long-run economic challenge is to
diversify its economy away from reliance on the energy
sector. In 2008, we launched a bilateral Private-Private
Economic Partnership Initiative (PPEPI), which brings
together the U.S. and Kazakhstani public and private sectors
to make policy recommendations on improving the country,s
business climate and reducing other barriers to non-energy
investment. On a less promising note, the Kazakhstanis
announced in June that they would suspend their bilateral
negotiations to accede to the World Trade Organization (WTO)
and on January 1, Kazakhstan joined a customs union with
Russia and Belarus. We have informed Kazakhstan that there
is, in fact, no mechanism allowing a customs union to accede
to the WTO without its member states doing so individually.

7. (C) U.S. and Kazakhstani strategic interests are largely
aligned on the development of Kazakhstan,s vast energy
resources. Both sides agree that U.S. and other Western
companies must continue playing a lead role in Kazakhstan,s
energy exploration and production projects, and that
diversification of transport routes will bolster
Kazakhstan,s sovereignty and enable it to capture the
maximum benefits of its energy and wealth. Kazakhstan
produced 88 million tons of oil in 2009 (approximately 1.5

Astana 00000251 003 of 014

million barrels per day), and is expected to become one of
the world,s top ten crude exporters soon after 2015. While
the country also has significant gas reserves (1.5 trillion
cubic meters is a low-end estimate), current gas exports are
very limited for now, in part because gas is being reinjected
to maximize crude output. U.S. companies (ExxonMobil,
Chevron, and ConocoPhillips) have significant ownership
stakes in Kazakhstan,s three major hydrocarbon projects,
including Kashagan, the world,s largest oil field discovery
since Alaska,s North Slope. In June 2009, ConocoPhillips
signed a contract to explore and develop the offshore N
Block, estimated to contain 2.13 billion recoverable barrels
of oil. China has recently increased its investment in
Kazakhstan,s energy sector, and through the state-owned
China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) now controls
approximately 20% of Kazakhstan,s total oil production.

8. (C) With major crude production increases on the horizon,
Kazakhstan must develop additional transport routes to bring
its crude to market. Currently, most of Kazakhstan,s crude
is exported via Russia, though some exports flow east to
China, west across the Caspian through Azerbaijan, and south
across the Caspian to Iran. We are focused on helping the
Kazakhstanis implement the Kazakhstan-Caspian Transportation
System (KCTS), which envisions a &virtual pipeline8 of
tankers transporting large volumes of crude from
Kazakhstan,s Caspian coast to Baku, from where it will flow
onward to market through Georgia, including through the
Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) pipeline. While a trans-Caspian
crude pipeline might be a cheaper long-term transport option,
the Kazakhstanis maintain that an agreement on Caspian
delimitation among the five Caspian littoral states is a
prerequisite, politically if not legally, for moving forward
on the construction of such a pipeline.

9. (SBU) One issue that is certain to be at the center of
discussion for years to come is water management. Reviving
the northern portion of the Aral Sea, which Kazakhstan
controls, has been a resounding success. A greater priority
is ensuring continued access to water for public and
agricultural use. As most of Kazakhstan's rivers have
headwaters outside of the country, Kazakhstan remains
somewhat vulnerable to developments in upstream countries.
For the moment this is not a problem as glacial melt has made
up the distance in quantity versus demand. But the long-term
issue is that Kazakhstan is drawing against a bank account
that cannot be easily replenished. Anecdotally we have been
told that the Ishim River (the river that flows through
Astana has its headwaters in China) has decreased by one
meter over the past few years due to increased upstream use
in China. In addition to securing an adequate quantity of
water, Kazakhstan also remains concerned about water quality.
There is also concern that Lake Balkash, the 16th largest
lake in the world, might be endangered by China,s up-stream
water usage.

Regional influence and support

10. (SBU) Kazakhstan has also expressed its eagerness to
play an enhanced role in achieving regional integration.
President Nazarbayev continues to raise the subject of a
Central Asian union with a common market. Kazakhstan is
already a significant economic force in the region ) it is
the largest foreign investor in Kyrgyzstan and in Georgia,
for example. While progress has been slow, the Kazakhstanis
are continuing to seek opportunities for investment in

Csto and sco

11. (C) Kazakhstan's involvement in the Russian-led
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) is a natural
extension of its historical relationship with Russia, as well
as its current Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS)

Astana 00000251 004 of 014

involvement and mutual security ties with Former Soviet Union
(FSU) nations. Its membership in the Shanghai Cooperation
Organization (SCO) provides a means to balance its foreign
policy and not show favoritism unless absolutely necessary.
CSTO participation penetrates the political, economic and
military spheres, but actual contributions to the CSTO appear
to be more political than substantive. The CSTO mechanism
provides a means for Kazakhstan to stay connected to Russia
on issues of mutual concern (air defense, counter-terrorism,
etc...), but without the danger of getting too close. At the
CSTO,s 2008 summit in Moscow, the Government of Russia
pressured the CSTO partners to recognize South Ossetian and
Abkhazian independence and to make strong statements about
Georgia,s responsibility for the current conflict, however,
Kazakhstan and the other CSTO members did not cede to Russian
pressure. With regard to the SCO, Kazakhstan was surprised
at the vehemence of Russia and China in insisting upon an
anti-U.S. in Central Asia statement in the 2006 summit joint
statement. Kazakhstan remains "proud" of the fact that they
prevented a similar clause from appearing again. SCO
activity remains minimal in Kazakhstan with the government
remaining leery of its eastern neighbor.

Military/defense perspective

Ministry of defense

12. (S) Minister of Defense: Kazakhstan,s former
Ambassador to Russia, Adilbek Dzhaksybekov, was appointed as
the new Defense Minister on 24 June 2009. All indications
appear that Minister Dzhaksybekov is a pragmatist and
supports cooperation with a variety of nations that is in the
best interests of the Ministry of Defense and the
modernization and transformation of the Kazakhstan Armed

13. (S) Chief of Defense: First Deputy Minister General
Mukhtar Altynbayev, previously Minister of Defense, thrice
removed, continues to serve as Kazakhstan,s Chief of
Defense. Relatively inconsequential as the Chief of Defense
and generally a neutral party who has neither a positive nor
negative impact on our bilateral relationship, he is reported
to oppose the deployment of forces to Afghanistan.

14. (S) Component Commanders: The Ground Forces Chief,
General-Lieutenant Saken Zhasuzakov; Air Forces Chief,
General-Major Alexandr Sorokin; and Chief of Naval Forces,
Captain Zhandarbek Zhanzakov. Generally, the Component
Commanders have so far proven to be inconsequential, as they
remain relatively uninvolved in the sphere of U.S.-Kazakhstan
security cooperation ) this is because the majority of our
security cooperation does not impact forces under the
component commanders, direct control.

15. (S) Unequal Partnership: The MOD remains an
under-funded ministry that has no policy-making authority.
The simple fact is that the U.S. DOD-KZ MOD relationship is
not one of equals. DOD has significant policy input in the
USG, while the MOD appears to have almost none. In short,
the KZ MOD is a supporting ministry, taking its direction
from higher levels within the government. The U.S. has, on a
number of occasions, successfully achieved its bilateral and
regional goals by appealing to those closer to the center of
power and using them to provide the MOD with marching orders.

Military operations/support


16. (SBU) Kazakhstan directly supported coalition efforts in
Iraq from August 2003 through October 2008, most
significantly by deploying a military engineering/explosive
ordinance disposal (EOD) unit which cumulatively disposed of
over 5 million pieces of unexploded ordnance. With the

Astana 00000251 005 of 014

reorganization of the coalition in Iraq, Kazakhstan completed
its tenth rotation and redeployed its forces in their
entirety in late October 2008.


17. (S) The USG continues to solicit support for increased
participation in international operations, and it appears
that Kazakhstan may, in the near-term, deploy four to six
staff officers to support ISAF HQ in Afghanistan, however,
internal political discussions are ongoing and a decision has
yet to be made. Of great concern to the Government is public
opinion, which in general is opposed to a deployment to
Afghanistan primarily because of misconceptions fostered by
the Kazakh experience in Afghanistan during the 1980s Soviet
occupation. Supporters of a deployment to Afghanistan within
the Ministry of Defense look to increase Kazakhstan,s ISAF
coalition contributions over time, specifically the future
deployment of military medical personnel and EOD/Engineer
assets, very possibly in support of the Afghan Engineer
School located in Mazar-e-Sharif. These supporters consist
primarily of the pro-western faction within the Ministry of
Defense, xxxxxxxxxxxx, and understand the
value of conducting real-world operations in terms of
building political capital and capitalizing on deploying and
training the force. Additionally, in 2008 the Government of
Kazakhstan provided almost $3 million to Afghanistan
primarily for infrastructure improvement and development, and
is looking to provide additional funding. During a November
22 visit to Kabul, State Secretary-Foreign Minister Kanat
Saudabayev unveiled an assistance package, which included a
proposal to provide free university education in Kazakhstan
for up to 1,000 Afghan students over the period from
2010-2018. The government has also offered to provide
training to Afghan law enforcement officers at law
enforcement training institutes in Kazakhstan. The
Kazakhstanis hope to make Afghanistan a focus of their 2010
OSCE chairmanship.

Issues influencing expansion of kazakhstan's support for

Overflight expansion

18. (S) In November 2009 we requested the expansion of the
overflight agreement to include two North-South polar routes
to/from Russia through Kazakhstan and eventually to
Afghanistan via Diplomatic Note. This request has been
unofficially declined and stated that a new agreement must be
negotiated then ratified by parliament prior to entry into
force. This process could take well over a year from
negotiation to ratification, as exemplified by the German
transit agreement which was negotiated from 2004-2007, signed
in 2007, then ratified in 2008. This current impasse may
very be the result of several influencing factors. It
appears the Kazakhs are unhappy with being approached by the
USG requesting additional air corridors after the USG
negotiated an air transit agreement with Russia. The Kazakhs
have told us in the past that they do not appreciate being
treated like the little brother to Russia, and that the USG
needs to notify the Government of Kazakhstan in good faith at
the same time as discussions are ongoing with Russia. It is
our belief the Government of Kazakhstan has been unwilling to
approve additional overflight corridors as an addendum to our
current overflight agreement via Diplomatic Note exchange
because the USG negotiated with Russia prior to consulting
with Kazakhstan. Further exacerbating this issue is likely
the press coverage emphasizing the significance of Russia
assisting U.S. efforts in Afghanistan, when the Kazakhs have
been quietly doing so since 2001. The Kazakhs also likely
consider the U.S. request as a fait accompli ) something
that further aggravates the government.

Transit of m-atvs and other wheeled vehicles

Astana 00000251 006 of 014

19. (S) In October 2009 we requested the authorization to
ship military and civilian wheeled vehicles to include MRAPs
and M-ATVS along the NDN via Diplomatic Note. This request
has also been unofficially declined and is likely tied to the
issues outlined in this section of the scenesetter as well as
the following. Information indicates that the National
Security Committee (KNB) does not support the transit of
M-ATVS or lethal cargo ) the excuse we have been given is
that it exposes the Kazakhs to potential terrorist reprisals
for supporting lethal cargo transit. This appears to be the
top cover for declining the U.S. request and frankly a flimsy
excuse given that the Germany-Kazakhstan air and ground
bilateral transit agreement for lethal and non-lethal goods
was ratified by the Kazakhstan Parliament in 2008. How does
this not expose Kazakhstan to the same risks?

Local procurement

20. (S) The Government of Kazakhstan has become extremely
frustrated at the perceived lack of U.S. forward movement to
date in local procurement in over 13 months since the NDN
informal agreement was approved by President Nazarbayev in
December 2008. Local procurement provides the U.S. the
opportunity to strengthen our strategic partnership and to
capitalize on providing domestically-produced items for U.S.
forces in Afghanistan. Opportunities abound for promoting
the benefits associated with supporting the U.S. goals and
specifically the NDN, while offering the cost-savings
associated with the procurement of locally-produced products
that meet and/or exceed our requirements. Local procurement
was a major selling point for the Kazakhs, however, since the
Government of Kazakhstan considers little to have so far been
accomplished in this respect, it is likely that this is also
a factor retarding the positive movement forward on securing
an agreement for the transshipment of M-ATVs as well as the
expansion of OEF overflight corridors. Additionally, the
disparate nature of our logistics system is making this a
challenging enterprise ) the responsibility for procuring
various classes of supplies is dispersed amongst different
government organizations. Although GSA and DLA have stepped
up to the plate and are beginning to capitalize on local
procurement opportunities, it would be in our best interests
to coordinate all procurement efforts to maximize our
effectiveness and efficiency to support this extremely
important mission.

Logistics hub/transit center offer

21. (S) In March 2008 President Nazarbayev extended an offer
of a logistics hub/transit center in Kazakhstan to the U.S.
Ambassador to Kazakhstan. Since then the Government of
Kazakhstan has been asking for a written request from the USG
outlining our requirements. A written USG request is
considered by the Kazakhs as the starting point for
determining exactly what level of logistic hub/transit center
the Kazakhs would possibly be willing to support. We have
yet to submit a request or to officially take this offer off
the table, and are periodically asked about our response to
the offer. It appears to the Government of Kazakhstan that
we are ignoring their offer, thereby, further aggravating the
issues outlined in this section of the scenesetter.

Cooperation with uzbekistan

22. (S) The Government of Kazakhstan has stated with concern
that our cooperation with Uzbekistan has increased while our
cooperation with Kazakhstan, in their view, remains stagnant
or is decreasing. The government has also indicated its
frustration and lack of understanding why this would be the
case since Kazakhstan has been and continues to be a reliable
partner, both now and into the future. Whether or not this
is the case, perception is reality, and the examples that are
routinely mentioned are that Kazakhstan has been the first

Astana 00000251 007 of 014

Central Asian nation to authorize cost-free unlimited and
unfettered overflights in support of OEF (2001), as well as
an expansion to this agreement an opening of additional air
corridors (2005); the first Central Asian nation to authorize
aircraft diverts into Almaty airport in the event of an
emergency; the first and only Central Asian nation to deploy
forces to Iraq in support of OIF (2003-2008); the first
Central Asian nation to authorize the shipment of non-lethal
goods along the NDN (Dec 2008), little more than one month
following General McNabb,s visit and official request; and
the first Central Asian nation, and most likely the only,
that will deploy forces into Afghanistan in support of ISAF
sometime this year (most likely by June 2010).

Overflight agreement

23. (SBU) In support of OEF, the Government of Kazakhstan
has granted more than 9,000 cost-free overflights since the
agreement,s entry into force in 2001 and eventual
parliamentary ratification in December 2008 ) this equates
to an annual average of over 1000 U.S. military and DOD
charter aircraft overflights per year. This agreement does
not differentiate between types of cargo, allowing it to be
used for the transport of lethal goods.

Emergency divert agreement

24. (SBU) In 2002, an emergency divert agreement with the
Kazakhstan entered into force that allows aircraft bound for
Manas the option of landing at Almaty or Astana International
Airports in case of bad weather or emergency ) in excess of
85 diverts have been supported under this agreement. In
every case Kazakhstan has exceeded the expectations of the
original agreement, however one of the limiting factors under
the provisions of this agreement is the restriction which
does not allow disembarkation of troops from the diverted
aircraft. U.S. forces traveling on deployment orders usually
do not have passports or visas and, therefore, cannot legally
enter the country to stay at a hotel or be transported by
alternate ground means to Manas. Should the Kazakhstani
Government allow U.S. forces entry into Kazakhstan, USDAO has
no mechanism in place to fund costs associated with
transportation or lodging. Since the agreement,s entry into
force, the USDAO has relocated from Almaty over 600 miles
north to Astana and cannot react quickly to support incoming
diverted aircraft.

Northern distribution network (ndn)

25. (SBU) As you are aware, President Nazarbayev approved
the use of Kazakhstan,s commercial transport infrastructure
to support the U.S. NDN for resupplying our forces in
Afghanistan on 30 December 2008.

26. (C) As background to previous non-U.S. transit
agreements, NATO has been limited to one option ) the
transport of non-lethal supplies through Russia, Kazakhstan
and Uzbekistan ) and finally secured a written agreement to
resupply forces in Afghanistan in late January 2010. Of note
is that the Government of Kazakhstan was extremely unhappy
that NATO sought permission of its big brother, to the
north before opening discussions with the Kazakhstanis ) the
government indicated negotiations should have occurred in
parallel rather than in serial. The German Government
negotiated an official government-to-government agreement
with Kazakhstan for the ground and air transit of both lethal
and non-lethal supplies destined for Afghanistan, which took
3 years to negotiate (2004-2007) and one year for
parliamentary ratification before the agreement entered into
force in 2008 ) a four year process. The Germans have yet
to execute the transit of lethal goods via ground means,
something we will monitor in the event the U.S. decides to
expand its current agreement to include the transit of lethal

Astana 00000251 008 of 014

27. (S) Additionally, it continues to be in our best
interests to use all available transit routes, to include
Russia. Should we purposely choose to bypass Russia, then it
is likely that Russia would pressure the Government of
Kazakhstan to not allow supplies to transit Kazakhstan. It
is our strong belief that including Russia as part of the NDN
is a win-win situation and provides the U.S. an alternate
route to resupply our forces in Afghanistan, however, we must
remain aware that Russia could attempt to manipulate and gain
exclusive control of the flow of supplies across its
territory by undermining our efforts to expand our options
with other nations.

Aviation fuel

28. (C) Since Kazakhstan has a limited refining capability,
it imports most of its aviation fuel from Russia. Some of
this fuel is in turn sold to Manas Transit Center,
Kyrgyzstan. In this way, Russia indirectly provides fuel for
Manas Transit Center and OEF operations.

29. (SBU) In response to the Georgian-Russian conflict,
Kazakhstan provided 165 tons of humanitarian aid to the
Government of Georgia consisting of food, medicine and
medical equipment worth approximately $460K. The Kazakhstani
government has also made strong statements in support of UN
resolutions sanctioning Iran and North Korea.

Non-proliferation issues

30. (SBU) Kazakhstan sees itself as a strong partner in
non-proliferation. Non-proliferation has been a cornerstone
of the bilateral relationship since Kazakhstan's
independence. With the collapse of the Soviet Union,
Kazakhstan was left with the world's fourth largest nuclear
arsenal. Nazarbayev's 1991 decision to give up Kazakhstan's
nuclear arsenal was groundbreaking. Kazakhstan returned all
tactical nuclear warheads to Russia by January 1992, and all
strategic nuclear warheads by April 1995. Through the
Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction (CTR) Program the
U.S. assisted Kazakhstan with the destruction of bombers,
silos, and related ICBM infrastructure and delivery systems.

31. (S) While the U.S.-Kazakhstan non-proliferation
relationship seems to be solid on the surface, at working
levels, the U.S. and Kazakhstani governments have encountered
continuous implementation issues. The Umbrella Agreement
amendment governing the CTR program, signed in December 2007,
was finally ratified on 2 June 2009. Ratification is the
first step to provide Kazakhstan with a legal basis to
establish a mechanism to implement value added tax (VAT) and
duty exemptions for imported equipment and services contracts
through the CTR program. Taxation issues have festered
unresolved since 2004, leading to frustration at high levels
in Washington, both in the Executive and Legislative
branches. There has, however, been a renewed commitment at
the senior levels of the Government of Kazakhstan to resolve
the taxation issues, yet we await the commitment to translate
into reality.

32. (S) Of all of the projects funded by the CTR
appropriation, the most critical is a classified project to
secure weapons-grade materials at the former Soviet nuclear
weapons test site in Semipalatinsk. The project is
tri-lateral, between Russia, Kazakhstan, and the United
States, with the Russians providing the necessary data
regarding material location and the United States providing
funding to repatriate the material to Russia or secure it in
situ. In addition to securing the materials at the site, DOD
is pressing the Government of Kazakhstan to increase its
security presence at the site (Ministry of Internal Affairs
Special Troops), and has provided ground sensor and UAV
technology that is used to assist Kazakhstan monitor the site

Astana 00000251 009 of 014

for trespassers.

33. (SBU) In addition to the classified trilateral project
in Semipalatinsk, the Department of Defense is currently
implementing the Biological Threat Reduction Program, which
supports Kazakhstan,s efforts to combat bioterrorism and
prevent the proliferation of biological weapons technology,
pathogens and expertise by strengthening its outbreak
response and monitoring capabilities.

34. (SBU) The Department of Energy also has several projects
that are focused on securing nuclear materials, including a
major project to decommission and store spent fuel from
Kazakhstan,s BN-350 fast breeder reactor. Currently, OSD
(NCB) has offered assistance in the form security and
consequence management seminars, a table top exercise and of
a field exercise to test the readiness incident response
forces and Ministry of Internal Affairs Special Troops,
which provides security escort for fuel shipments between
Aktau (where the reactor is located) and the Semipalatinsk
Test Site, where the fuel will be kept in long-term storage.
The Special Troops also have a rapid response force at the
storage site. The Government of Kazakhstan is considering
the offered exercise assistance.

35. (SBU) The Department of State funds additional
nonproliferation projects implemented by the International
Science and Technology Center (ISTC). State also takes a
leading role in the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear
Weapons Terrorism, in which Kazakhstan participates.

Security assistance and engagement overview

36. (S) We harbor no illusions to the contrary ) Russia is
and will remain Kazakhstan's number one security partner.
Kazakhstan MoD will partner with the U.S. to modernize, but
we will need your help in rebuilding trust in the US Security
Assistance (SA) apparatus. We have the long-term goal of
transforming the Kazakhstan Armed Forces into a deployable
force which not only can adequately protect national
sovereignty, but also becomes an agent of democratic reform
and rule of law within Kazakhstan. We have identified three
areas where U.S.-Kazakh interests overlap: Defense Reform
(both doctrine and equipment), security of the ungoverned
spaces of the Caspian Sea Basin and Southern Kazakhstan, and
the development of a deployable Peace Support Operations
(PSO) capability to support multilateral UN-sanctioned
operations. We have seen progress over the past few years,
but lack of fiscal commitment, especially in the Huey II
helicopter program, continues to undermine U.S. credibility,
resulting in Kazakhstan,s lack of enthusiasm to commit
national funds to modernization and transformation. We
continue to work with OSD, CENTCOM, DSCA and the Military
Services Security Assistance Commands to overcome these
obstacles and to develop and execute solutions to the myriad
of problems on the Huey II. The bottom line is that the
United States, credibility and reliability are at stake with
regard to our SA endeavors.


37. (SBU) Kazakhstan HMMWV fleet currently includes 114
vehicles (45 up-armored vehicles, the rest being primarily
unarmored or ambulances). KAZBRIG uses the HMMWVs for
training peacekeepers and is expected to deploy with them as
part of a future PSO. MOD has made a commitment to the
sustainment of the HMMWVs through the development of the
&Asia HMMWV Center8 and a Unit Maintenance facility at
KAZBRIG. The initial success of the HMMWV program in
Kazakhstan led to the MOD requesting eight Huey II
helicopters (highly modified UH-1Hs) through the FMF program.

Huey ii helicopters

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38. (SBU) This program failed to meet the original goal of
achieving full operational capability with an eight-aircraft
unit by 2010, primarily due to underfunding. Movement
forward will require over $55M in funding and more deliberate
attention from U.S. Army Security Assistance Command
responsible for the program. The U.S. delivered the first
two of eight Excess Defense Article (EDA) Huey IIs in
November 2007, and an agreement for a third has been signed
lat this year due to Kazakhstan,s FMF funding being
decreased while refurbishment costs continue to rise.
Currently, at over $8M per aircraft for refurbishment and
delivery alone, plus the additional resources needed for
associated support equipment and training, Kazakhstan needs
over $55M to provide the remaining five aircraft. In
addition to the funding issue, the Huey II operational
readiness rates have hovered at zero since in July 2008 due
to shortages of ground maintenance equipment, adequate spare
parts and publications. A prime example of the issues at
hand - when the Huey II s required routine 150 flight hour
service, the initial parts package did not include all needed
parts for the service, but did include over $160K in
non-required or non-Huey II parts. As a short-term fix, we
are working with the Kazakhstani MOD and U.S. Army case
managers to coordinate contractor maintenance oversight and
provide the parts and equipment necessary to complete these
basic periodic inspections, while concurrently staffing
U.S.-required airworthiness release to allow U.S. maintainers
and pilots to train MOD personnel onboard their aircraft. We
are working to find alternative means to fund the Huey II
program including an FY09 1206 proposal which was disapproved
within DOD and a recent CENTCOM initiated supplemental
funding request which is currently making its way through the
DOD pipeline. CENTCOM and US Embassy staffs have developed a
supplemental funding request for $60 million to complete the
Kazakhstan Huey-II helicopter program. This request is
currently stalled at OSD due to OSD Comptroller
non-concurrence. The delivery of the two helicopters was a
major news item in Kazakhstan that reached the attention of
President Nazarbayev - the death of this program will surely
reach him as well. Additionally, should we prove unreliable
then there exists little reason for Kazakhstan to commit
national funds for the procurement/refurbishment of C130s )
the third pillar of the HMMWV- Huey II -C130 triad.

39. (C) The reduction in funding combined with an unreliable
and unresponsive SA system damage U.S. reliability and
credibility, as well as the credibility of pro-U.S./Western
allies within the MOD. The anti-U.S./pro-Russian faction
within MOD will use this to undercut our supporters within
the government ) and do not require an active role but
passively point to the unreliability of the U.S. as a
security partner. xxxxxxxxxxxx in order to show the
skeptics that the U.S. is a credible and reliable partner,
U.S./Western technology is superior and Kazakhstan,s
soldiers can be trained to use and sustain U.S./Western

Defense transportation system (dts)

40. (SBU) FMS and 1206 equipment and spare parts shipments
are routinely delayed due to shortfalls or inaccuracies in
transport documentation. Lack of documentation from shippers
has contributed not only to significant delays in equipment
delivery, but has cost the Kazakhstani MOD over $50K in
unprogrammed impound storage fees in the last 18 months.
Kazakhstan does not have its own freight forwarder, and is
solely reliant on FMF-funded DTS for equipment delivery )
the negative impact on our credibility is further exacerbated
when we cannot deliver U.S. equipment using our own
transportation system in an efficient and timely manner. We
still encourage Kazakhstan to hire a freight forwarder, but

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even if it did so, we are required to use DTS for U.S.
equipment delivered under some special programs like 1206 )
so a fix to DTS is still essential. We are working with
DSCA, TRANSCOM and the military services, security
assistance organizations to address these systemic shortfalls.


41. (SBU) The Ministry of Defense requested six EDA C-130s
in 2006, but Congress only recently released EDA C-130s. The
C-130s could provide a valuable capstone for our bilateral
security cooperation, should we be able to overcome systemic
shortcomings. xxxxxxxxxxxx USAF (Jun 09) and USN (Dec 09) provided
the Kazakh MOD with Pricing and Availability (P&A) data for
the procurement/refurbishment of six EDA C-130. Current
estimates for this program are between $210 and $265M )
purchase will require the commitment of Kazakh national
funds, since this far exceeds available or anticipated FMF.
While the Ministry of Defense indicated national funds are
available in 2011, it must soon refine its request to start
long lead processes such as congressional notification, spare
parts procurement, and the scheduling of training. This may
allow the U.S. system the opportunity to meet the MOD
requested initial operational capability date of 2013.
Kazakhstan currently has a C- rating under the Interagency
Country Risk Assessment methodology, which does not allow DOD
to schedule a payment plan with Kazakhstan. The Department
of Treasury and the Department of State have expressed
opposition to an improvement in the rating, for reasons
related to risk in the financial sector.

Military-to-military (m2m) cooperation

42. (SBU) The CENTCOM M2M contact plan has grown to 145
events in FY09 (this figure does not include FMF, IMET,
Peacekeeping or 1206 projects), and we expect to conduct
approximately 130 events in FY10. Despite the slight
decrease in quantity, there has also been a significant
increase in the quality of events ) the subject matter is
increasingly complex and comprehensive, and event
preparations are more professionally planned, coordinated and
executed. Kazakhstan has asked for U.S. assistance through
M2M activities in a number of key areas that stand to have a
long-term impact on the modernization and transformation of
their military, to include the development of national
military doctrine, curriculum and faculty development for
their Professional Military Education (PME) institutions, and
interoperability through acquisition of equipment and TTP

Kazbrig evolution

43. (C) xxxxxxxxxxxx Originally,
plans were to have most of KAZBRIG professionally-manned,
equipped, and trained by the end of 2009, however, little to
no progress in the sphere of professionalization has occurred
with KAZBRIG since late 2003 ) the same time that KAZBRIG
became a priority focus of U.S. Security Cooperation efforts.
Obstacles KAZBRIG must overcome include a variety of
manning, equipping and training obstacles, but by far the
most serious obstacle is the lack of professionalization.
Professionalization is the only means for KAZBRIG to become a
fully mission capable and deployable peace-keeping force.
The Kazakhs committed to accomplishing this objective by
2010, as well as obtaining NATO level-2 certification. The
Kazakhs, however, have continued to slide these objectives to

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the right, with the endstate and intermediate steps to
reaching an endstate remaining undefined.
Professionalization has simply not occurred, and with 70
percent of the force still being conscripted, KAZBRIG
continues to remain non-deployable and non-mission capable )
by Kazakhstan law conscripts cannot deploy outside of
Kazakhstan. This non-deployable non-mission capable status
will continue until there is a serious commitment on behalf
of the Kazakhstan MOD and Government to professionalize. The
limited professionalization of KAZBRIG resembles a shotgun
pattern, spread throughout the officer and NCO cadre in 1st
and 2nd Battalions and KAZBRIG HQ. In light of a shifting
target and the Kazakhstan MOD demand for U.S. assistance, the
U.S. has remained committed and continues to train and equip
KAZBRIG for a deployment that remains undefined and
unobtainable in current circumstances. One battalion is
currently manned, albeit at a 70 percent conscript rate, and
trained for PSO, with the 2d Battalion continuing to undergo
transformation, and conversion of KAZBRIG,s third combat
battalion being indefinitely postponed. A result of the
predominance of conscripts, with losses caused by draftees
demobilizing annually at the rate of 70 percent, as well as
the loss of NCOs/officers disillusioned by the lack of a
meaningful deployment and substandard pay and benefits.
KAZBRIG officers tend to attribute recruitment and retention
problems to this lack of deployment. The NATO evaluation
from the 2008 Steppe Eagle exercise, a U.S./UK/KZ exercise,
indicated the one operational battalion of KAZBRIG is NATO
interoperable with limitations. MOD conducted an internal
evaluation of 2d Battalion during Steppe Eagle 2009, and
plans to conduct another assessment of 2d Battalion and
KAZBRIG staff during Steppe Eagle 2010 ) deferring further
NATO interoperability and capabilities assessments of two
battalions and the Brigade staff until 2011-2012.

44. (S) Recent information indicates the UK MOD is seriously
considering the termination of all security assistance with
Kazakhstan due to the lack of progress with KAZBRIG. It also
appears that the UK MOD will most likely provide the
Kazakhstan MOD with the ultimatum of professionalizing
KAZBRIG according to a strict timeline with the requirement
of deploying and sustaining a platoon-size element as part of
ISAF within the RC-South area to conduct base security/force
protection operations. It also appears that if the Kazakhs
do not commit to this request that all security cooperation
will cease. Additionally, the UK would like our support for
establishing strict professionalization and deployment
requirements and timeline, otherwise the concern is that the
Kazakhs will ignore the UK request and continue to rely on
U.S. Security Cooperation to bridge the gap should the UK
terminate its support.

Kazbrig deployment

45. (C) The Steppe Eagle exercise and NATO evaluation were
critical to a potential deployment announcement for the
KAZBRIG. A successful evaluation of the KAZBRIG is a
necessary, but not sufficient condition for a deployment
announcement. Given that the only deployable unit of KAZBRIG
is a single battalion, then to sustain operations over the
long-term the largest deployable unit is a company-size
element inherent to the 3:1 deploy-reset-train force
generation model. The past deployment of a platoon-size
element in support of OIF did not meet the 3:1 ratio,
however, future plans to deploy up to a company-size element
match current capacity. Since Kazakhstani law allows only
professional soldiers to participate in international
operations, and since currently only KAZBRIG officer and NCO
cadre are professional, MOD must also commit to full KAZBRIG
professionalization to provide a deployable unit. Lack of a
professionalized unit also undercuts effectiveness of
combined exercises and training ) over 70 percent of KAZBRIG
personnel participating in Steppe Eagle 2009 were conscripts
who will be demobilized prior to Steppe Eagle 2010. Our

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general belief, following a deployment announcement, is that
manning problems would evaporate, training focus and
assistance would increase, and KAZBRIG would be ready to
conduct basic peace support operations in a low to medium
threat environment under the command of a lead nation.

Caspian response force development

46. (S) The FY 2008 1206 train and equip program has focused
on the development of a KAZ MOD special operations force
(SOF) element to respond to threats to critical energy
infrastructure and other vital sites in the Caspian region.
Equipment delivered includes four 7-meter rigid-hull
inflatable assault boats, and pending shipments include open-
and closed-circuit SCUBA equipment, HMMWVs, and additional
support items. 1206-funded contract basic SCUBA training was
completed in Jul 09, and SOCCENT and the US Navy conducted
Counter-NarcoTerrorism Training 2009 to assist KAZ SOF in
building effective capabilities for maritime operations.
While most equipment has not yet been delivered, KAZ SOF
units have undergone several resubordinations and
reorganizations in the interim ) our relationship with KAZ
SOF is still evolving. We are maintaining planned current
activities, but monitoring this relationship to ensure it
remains focused in line with agreed bilateral goals.

Civilian-to-military (c2m) cooperation

47. (U) The CENTCOM C2M contact plan has also seen great
growth over the past two years, primarily due to the interest
of the Minister of Emergency Situations (MES), Valdimir
Bozhko. Minister Bozhko has shown a personal interest in
working with U.S. Agencies. The C2M programs are mainly
conducted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE),
Arizona National Guard (AZNG), and local Arizona emergency
response agencies via the National Guard Bureau (NGB) State
Partnership Program. MES interest was highlighted by a visit
to Arizona and Washington, DC by the MES Minister, Vladimir
Bozhko, in July 2008 to discuss the C2M program and set the
stage for future C2M cooperation. Minister Bozhko was
engaged and extremely pleased with his visit, and clearly
outlined the areas he would like assistance from Arizona and
the Corps of Engineers. The FY09 cooperation plan with MES
marked a sizable expansion in the number and type of
engagement activities with MES. This included exchange
visits in Arizona and Kazakhstan of firefighting and 911
operations. Additionally, the USACE laid the ground work for
future training workshops for MES, and already held a
Regional Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Workshop in
Astana, Water and Levee Management Workshop in the U.S., as
well as an MES visit to Washington DC to discuss future
engagements in the areas of industrial safety, including oil
spills, GIS and others. Our FY10 cooperation plan envisages
a continuation of FY09 engagement, as well as an MES Senior
Representatives visit to AZNG and USNORTHCOM. Minister
Bozhko has currently expressed particular interest in the
interagency and local/state/federal coordination process
within the National Response Framework and the National
Incident Management System. Unfortunately, the NGB State
Partnership Program was only allocated $2.2M for C2M programs
in FY09 to distribute amongst 48 states with programs in 63
countries. Arizona received a relatively sizable $200K of
available funds, but will only be able to execute 3 of the 11
planned events with MES in FY10. OMC has asked the AZNG for
additional NGB funding for C2M programs.

Counter-narcotics (cn) programs

48. (S) In November 2007 OMC added the new position of CN
Program Coordinator. This expansion highlighted the growth
of CENTCOM CN programs in Kazakhstan in cooperation with the
Kazakh Border Guard Service (BGS). Since that time OMC has
worked closely within the Country Team, particularly INL and
EXBS, on CN and border security exchange, training, and

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equipment programs aimed at helping Kazakhstan secure its
borders. CENTCOM funding has delivered night-vision and
avionics upgrades for three Mi-8MT helicopters ($7.9M), five
Sabre 4000 hand held detectors for use at border check points
($500K), and 10 UAZ 4x4 vehicles for the BGS quick response
forces ($500K). OMC is currently working with the BGS on a
ground-surveillance radar (GSR) program. FY09 CENTCOM
funding is projected at $10M and is scheduled for upgrading
one additional Mi-8MT, additional GSRs, mobile checkpoint
shelters, and remote sensor systems. The CN programs also
include training programs such as checkpoint inspection
training. Finally, the CN exchange program has facilitated
solid events such as visits to the USCG training center and
the U.S.-Mexico border. These exchanges have fostered a
closer relationship with the BGS and a greater interest in
working with the U.S. The BGS is organized under
Kazakhstan,s Intelligence Service, the Committee for State
Security (KNB), an unreformed former Soviet intelligence
service with close ties to the FSB and suspicious of U.S.
interaction. The KNB has recently asserted itself as
oversight for our cooperation with the BGS and begun to
severely limit the scope and participation in engagement
activities. In coordination with INL, OMC is starting to
develop cooperative training, equipment and construction
programs with the interagency Counternarcotics Committee,
under the Ministry for Internal Affairs, and the Customs
Committee, under the Finance Ministry.

Final words

49. (SBU) In conclusion, we are very much looking forward to
your upcoming visit. The entire Embassy team looks forward
to providing you with a rewarding and productive visit with a
valuable strategic partner who is vital to our national
strategic interests. We remain ready to answer any of your