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Kazakh Leader Sacks His Defense Minister

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev
ASTANA (Reuters) -- Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev on June 17 fired the Central Asian nation's Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov, the presidential press service said.

Nazarbaev's decree gave no reason for the sacking of Akhmetov, a long-term devoted loyalist of the veteran leader whose previous posts included that of prime minister.

First Deputy Defense Minister Mukhtar Altynbayev became acting defense minister.

In April, Kazakhstan's Defense Ministry was rocked by a scandal when the nation's security service accused it of buying defective military hardware from Israel.

A Kazakh deputy defense minister was sacked after the security agency's investigators established the government had incurred losses of $82 million as a result of the deal.