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Kazakhstan Says At Least 300 Citizens Fighting Alongside IS

  • RFE/RL

Kazakhstan's National Security Committee (KNB) says that the number of Kazakh citizens fighting as "jihadists" alongside Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq exceeds 300.

In a statement on its website on November 18, the KNB said its chief, Nurtai Abyqaev, told a gathering of security chiefs of the Commonwealth of Independent States in Astana this month that half of the Kazakh nationals currently fighting for the IS militant group are women.

According to the KNB report, Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) head Aleksandr Bortnikov told the gathering that more than 1,500 Russian citizens had joined IS militants in Syria and Iraq.

Authorities in the former Soviet republics of Central Asia and the Caucasus have expressed concern that the number of citizens fighting aloingside militants in Middle East is growing.

Kazakhstan and other states have tightened legislation aimed at curbing the number of such recruits.