An organized withdrawal of a peacekeeping contingent of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) from Kazakhstan has begun today.

Peacekeepers of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Armenia will be the first to leave the country.  They will be followed by Belarusian peacekeeper, and the Russian troops are expected to be the last to leave Kazakhstan. 

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev told the parliament on January 11 that the main mission of the CSTO troops has been successfully completed, and the phased withdrawal of the CSTO joint peacekeeping contingent will begin in two days.  According to him, the withdrawal process will take not more than ten days.

Recall, Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev on January 5 appealed to the CSTO for assistance dealing with what he called a “terrorist threat” and the CSTO agreed to send peacekeepers the first time in the organization’s 30-year history.

The CSTO began deploying its peacekeepers in Kazakhstan on January 6 to guard strategic facilities in the country. 

Article 4 of the Collective Security Treaty states that: “In the case of aggression (an armed attack threatening safety, stability, territorial integrity and sovereignty) against any Member States, all other Member States at request of this Member State shall immediately provide the latter with the necessary aid, including military.” 

This is the first time that the CSTO has agreed to deploy military forces to support an ally.  It has refused requests on at least two other occasions: from Kyrgyzstan, during massive ethnic unrest in 2010; and from Armenia in 2021, as Azerbaijan pushed its post-war advantage by carrying out military incursions into Armenian territory.

As it had been reported earlier, 200 Tajikistan’s peacekeepers were sent to Kazakhstan on the evening of January 7 after the parliament endorsed the sending of peacekeepers to Kazakhstan.

A joint meeting of both chamber of the parliament took place the same day.  Parliamentarians discussed only one issue -- the sending of troops to Kazakhstan as part of the CSTO peacekeeping mission.  They reportedly unanimously voted for sending Tajik peacekeepers to Kazakhstan.  

It is to be noted that CSTO members agreed to a major expansion of the organization to create a CSTO peacekeeping force, which could be deployed under a U.N. mandate or without one in its member states, on October 6, 2007.

On December 10, 2010, the member states approved a declaration establishing a CSTO peacekeeping force and a declaration of the CSTO member states, in addition to signing a package of joint documents.

Created in 1992, the Collective Security Treaty Organization is a Russia-led military alliance grouping the six former Soviet republics of Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan.