ALMATY, Jan 13 (Reuters) – A Russia-led military bloc began to pull its troops out of Kazakhstan on Thursday after a week-long deployment which helped the Central Asian nation overcome the worst bout of violent unrest in its post-Soviet history.
Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev asked for assistance from the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) last week as violence gripped half of the country while he dismissed some of his senior security officials who were later charged with treason. read more
This week, the authorities said they had stabilised the situation and completed what they called an "anti-terrorist operation" in most of the country, its biggest city Almaty a notable exception.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegister
"Thanks to your arrival, Kazakh military and security forces were able to carry out their immediate task of locating and detaining bandits," Kazakh Deputy Defence Minister Mukhamedzhan Talasov told departing CSTO troops on Thursday.
The alliance said on Wednesday the peacekeeping contingent would take 10 days to fully withdraw.
The protests, triggered by a sharp increase in car fuel prices, were initially peaceful, but turned violent in many major cities as some protesters attacked security forces, captured and torched government buildings and looted shops.
The authorities have detained almost 10,000 people over the unrest and said some of the attackers were foreigners trained by Islamist militants.
Register now for FREE unlimited access to Reuters.comRegisterReporting by Olzhas Auyezov and Mariya Gordeyeva; editing by Philippa Fletcher