Kazakhstan: Russian-led forces withdraw; new prime minister appointed | News

A week after dozens of people were killed in deadly protests, President Tokayev appointed Ali Khan Smailov as prime minister.

After a week of deadly unrest in Kazakhstan, Russian-led forces sent to quell unrest are preparing to leave as President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev searches for a new Prime Minister.

Tokayev said on Tuesday that troops he had requested from the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a military alliance of former Soviet states, would begin leaving the troubled Central Asian country in two days, with a withdrawal period of no more than 10 days.

Kazakhstan and Russia have characterized last week’s crisis as a coup attempt assisted by foreign “terrorists”, but have offered little evidence to support that claim.

The clashes, which killed citizens and police, stemmed from peaceful protests over rising energy prices in the oil-rich country’s west.

Kazakh security forces have detained nearly 10,000 people during the unrest, Kazakhstan’s interior ministry said on Tuesday.

At the same time, the earlier Tokayev fired the government To assuage dissent, Ali Khan Smailov was nominated as prime minister, and the lower house of parliament quickly voted for him.

Smailov, 49, was the first deputy prime minister in the previous cabinet sacked by Tokayev.

The death toll from last week’s protests is unclear because reliable information is difficult to verify in the tightly controlled former Soviet state.

On Sunday, the Ministry of Information withdrew a statement More than 164 people were said to have been killed in the unrest, and the publication blamed a “technical error”.

Officials previously said 26 “armed criminals” had been killed and 16 security personnel.

CSTO mission ‘completed’: Tokayev

“The main task of the CSTO peacekeeping force has been successfully completed,” Tokayev said in a live video conference call to the government and parliament on Tuesday.

The CSTO mission of more than 2,000 soldiers was sent at the height of the crisis after a spree of armed clashes and looting between government opposition and security forces made parts of the largest city Almaty almost unrecognizable .

The decision to send troops as peacekeepers is a first for the Collective Security Treaty Organization, which is often touted by Moscow as NATO but has previously been reluctant to intervene in unrest in Central Asia, which has long historical ties to Russia.

There are growing concerns that Moscow may use the mission to strengthen its influence in Kazakhstan.

U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken warned last week that “once the Russians get into your home, sometimes it’s hard to get them out”.Interactive - Kazakhstan CSTO