ASTANA – Over 150 Kazakh military personnel from the country’s various regions completed training at the Kazakhstan Peace Operations Center (KAZCENT) of the Ministry of Defense to demonstrate their level of skills and knowledge to the United Nations (UN) experts, reported Inbusiness.kz news agency.
During the six-month training, the officers practiced the tasks necessary to carry out the mission, including providing security for the peacekeeping base, escorting convoys of humanitarian supplies, organizing roadblocks and working with the local population, working in a riot zone, and conducting operations in populated areas.
Peacekeeping missions under the auspices of the UN also require engineering training that includes practicing skills in detecting and neutralizing mines and unexploded ordnance, as well as improvised explosive devices.
All members of the national peacekeeping contingent were required to undergo mandatory English language training, learn first aid protocols, and study humanitarian law norms in the current international legislation.
According to Lieutenant Colonel Zhiger Aipov, who led the Kazakh peacekeeping mission in Lebanon for six months in 2019, performing tasks under the auspices of the UN is a complex but exciting challenge for officers and soldiers.
“The commander bears considerable responsibility for the mission’s success, including accountability to the personnel, the state, and the international command of the peacekeeping operation. Various factors complicate mission implementation in conflict zones. For example, riots broke out during our mission in Lebanon, resulting in 10 days of closures for our troops at the peacekeepers’ base and checkpoints. As a commander, I was very concerned about the guys. Still, thanks to sufficient food and water supplies and continuous communication, we accomplished all the tasks assigned by the command,” said Aipov.
The Kazakh service members have been carrying out peacekeeping activities under the auspices of the UN since the Kazakh battalion was sent to Iraq in 2003.
Over the years, more than 800 service members have carried out missions in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East. There are 14 UN peacekeeping missions worldwide, four involving military personnel from Kazakhstan. Twenty Kazakh service members make up the contingent, which is stationed in Lebanon, Western Sahara, the Central African Republic, and the Congo.
Earlier, the Defense Ministry emphasized the country’s interest in obtaining additional quotas for peacekeepers and expanding its participation in the UN peacekeeping operations.