ASTANA – Seven Kazakh officers, along with representatives from more than 30 countries, are battling heat and desert conditions to serve in UN peacekeeping missions in Western Sahara and Côte d’Ivoire.
Five Kazakh officers are serving as military observers in Western Sahara with the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara or MINURSO and two are in Côte d’Ivoire with the UNOCI or United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire. As observers and personnel of the UN, they maintain neutrality and comply with peace agreements.
The officers’ main role is to conduct ground and air patrols. They also collect and analyse information to monitor the compliance with and implementation of agreements. The officers go through UN training prior to their postings and must possess English language skills and the ability to drive special vehicles used in the region. According to the Kazakhs serving in those missions, heat, mobility, runs through the desert and high temperatures make patrols difficult.
This experience, however, allows the officers to return to Kazakhstan and share what they have learned with the Kazakh military.