Kazakh Defence Minister Visits Afghanistan

ASTANA – On April 10, Defence Minister Adilbek Dzhaksybekov paid his first official visit to Afghanistan where he met with President Hamid Karzai, his counterpart and other officials.

“President Nursultan Nazarbayev stands for the active involvement of Afghanistan in the integration processes in the region and for strengthening our bilateral economic and humanitarian cooperation,” the defence minister told President Karzai. “Our country supports all the efforts of Afghanistan to consolidate its society and transform the country into a stable and democratic state.”

Dzhaksybekov also held talks with Afghan Defense Minister Bismillah Khan Mohammadi and discussed military cooperation with him.

Kazakhstan has the industrial resources to help Afghanistan with repairs and modernisation programmes for its military equipment in the areas of fire control, communications, radar and aviation equipment, and armoured combat vehicles, the Kazakh officials said.

Dzhaksybekov also briefed Afghan leaders on the biannual KADEX military exhibition which has been held in Astana since 2010. He invited Afghan military officers and experts to participate in the next one which will be held in 2014.

The defense minister also invited representatives from the Afghan armed forces to attend the 2013 Steppe Eagle peacekeeping exercises with the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) as observers. The exercises will take place in August. Forces from Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Ukraine will participate with NATO state contingents from the United States, Britain, Switzerland, Lithuania, Germany, Italy and France. This year, a multinational brigade staff will participate in the exercises to allow Kazakhstan to improve its level of operational cooperation with foreign forces.

Kazakh officials are also studying the possibility of providing training to Afghan officers in the country’s military institutions, Dzhaksybekov announced. Already since 2010 a programme is implemented to educate 1,000 Afghan students in peaceful professions at Kazakhstan universities.

During the defence minister’s visit to Kabul, Kazakh and Afghan officials also agreed to explore the possibility of setting up mechanisms to exchange and share intelligence on security issues between their two militaries.

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