Terrorist attacks in Kazakhstan's Almaty

Lone wolf or a planned attack?

According to eyewitnesses, "the unknown man in black, shooting with a machine gun, in the direction of the police, and tried to stop a car, after that ran towards the east." At least two policemen were killed in a shooting. The hospital has received more than ten people with injuries.

Several areas in the city, including near the Interior Department building Almaly district of Almaty and the Department of National Security Committee had been cordoned off, shots were fired.

Emergency services in Almaty urged residents not to leave their homes. The situation has been assigned a critical ( "red") level. Military units and institutions of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan were put on high alert.

According to Kazakhstan's police, one of the attackers was killed.

The last serious attack was June 5th, 2016 when a group of terrorists seized a weapons cache in the Kazakh city of Aktobe. Then, armed extremists seized a passenger bus and attempted to assault a military unit. As a result of the fighting in the city, 17 people were killed. It was the largest surge in terrorist activities in the country over the past few years. According to law enforcement officials, the attackers belonged to a "sectarian religious group."

The possible role of the West

Despite the multi-vector policy of Kazakhstan's leadership, which prefers not to quarrel with the West, the US and its allies can destabilize the situation in the country, especially in the context of the confrontation with Russia. Kazakhstan is one of the key actors in the Eurasian integration process leading to the strengthening of Russia as a Eurasian power. In addition, terrorism and instability in Kazakhstan, which also has a large Russian population, will create another hotbed of destabilization on the border of Russia with the prospect of the spread of negative trends in the Russian Federation itself.

Geopolitics of terrorism in Central Asia

From the perspective of international relations of Kazakh terrorists, two zones can be distinguished:

1. West and Central Kazakhstan - has close ties with the Russian North Caucasus. Therein lies a Vainakh diaspora and other mountain peoples. Here there are links to the Wahhabi underground of the North Caucasus, the Volga region and Russia as a whole.
2. Southern Kazakhstan, Astana and Almaty - more links with Central Asia, particularly Uzbekistan. Extremists from Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan are coming here.

Sustainable terrorist activity in these regions suggests the formation, on the territory of Eurasia, two major cross-border terrorist areas: Volga-Caucasus-North-West Kazakhstan and South Kazakhstan, Central Asia. Kazakhstan is of great geopolitical significance for international terrorists and their Western patrons: this is a country of Northern Eurasia, in which the activity of the North Caucasus, Volga region and the Central Asian terrorist networks all intersect. In case of destabilization, Kazakhstan will play a key role in creating an unbroken chain of terrorist activity from the Caucasus to Central Asia on Russia's southern flank.