ASTANA – The Kazakh Ministry of Defence is preparing the second contingent of Kazakh soldiers to be deployed as peacekeepers in Lebanon. The troops are expected to be deployed at the end of April.
“This is a matter of national importance, since it is the fulfilment by the Republic of Kazakhstan of its obligations to the world community,” said Minister of Defence Nurlan Yermekbayev at his recent working visit to the Iliyski training site in the Almaty region.
The peacekeeping unit is set to patrol the area, organise observation posts and monitor the cease-fire in accordance with the United Nations mandate.
Experienced peacekeeping officers have been training 120 troops. The soldiers learn the UN general provisions, train to patrol and provide service at roadblocks, reported the Ministry of Defence’s press service. They learn to peacefully resolve conflicts and use weapons only in critical situations for protection.
All the soldiers passed through highly selective criteria to train for the UN mission. The first condition is that a candidate must have served at least five years in the Kazakh Armed Forces. Apart from being in an excellent physical shape and health, the candidate is also required to have advanced level of English. The commission accepted soldiers between 25 and 50 years old.
There are plans to increase the number of Kazakh peacekeepers trained at the Iliyski base. The ministry is interested in having more soldiers with experience working in “difficult military-political situation areas and unfamiliar physiographic conditions,” said the minister.
“Being on a mission, be bold, courageous, disciplined soldiers, strictly and accurately performing all tasks, observing laws, rules, instructions and personal safety measures! I wish you to fulfil high-level military duty and return home with honour and dignity,” said Yermekbayev addressing the peacekeepers.
They will replace the first peacekeeping contingent deployed at the end of October. Prior to that, the peacekeepers trained in joint-military exercises with Indian battalion of the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). They are the first Kazakh armed forces sent with a UN peacekeeping mission.
Indian Battalion (IND BATT), as a more experienced party in peacekeeping, leads the mixed forces of IND-KAZ BATT.