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Kazakhstan Approves New National Security Committee Chief

Amankeldy Shabdarbaev
ASTANA -- The Kazakh Senate today approved Adil Shayakhmetov as the new head of the country's National Security Committee (KNB), RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Shayakhmetov told journalists in Astana that his predecessor, Amangeldy Shabdarbaev, should be praised for his "professionalism and contribution to the improvement of the KNB's work."

He added that Shabdarbaev's sacking on December 7 had nothing to do with recent scandals involving the KNB.

Shayakhmetov, 53, served as a senator for several years and is a professional security officer. He graduated from the highest class of the USSR's KGB institute in Minsk in 1982.

Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbaev fired Shabdarbaev after a series of media reports about the KNB clashing with other law-enforcement bodies. He reappointed Shabdarbaev as a presidential advisor.

Shabdarbaev is a longtime government official who is known for his loyalty to Nazarbaev. He also served as a bodyguard for former
Soviet Kazakhstan leader Dinmukhamed Kunaev.