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Biological weapons in Almaty: ex-Deputy Defense Minister of Kazakhstan mistrusts America

24.01.2014
Opinion Opinion Commentary

Almaty’s new infectious diseases laboratory might have a dual purpose - civil and military (to create biological weapon), the former Deputy Minister of Defense of Kazakhstan Amirbek Togusov told Tengrinews.

The Major General believes that in the modern world biological weapons pose a greater danger than nuclear ones, because it capable of striking not just one country, but several neighboring countries as well with one blow. 

Togusov believes that Kazakhstan has perfect conditions for development of a biological weapon: a huge territory with several different climate zones and diverse population genotype. 

In the Major General's opinion there are two ways of interpreting the true purpose of the Central Reference Laboratory: "Any lab, especially the one with such a technical base, always has a dual purpose - both military and civil." 

Amirbek Togusov. Photo courtesy of azattyq.org

Amirbek Togusov. Photo courtesy of azattyq.org 

That is why the fact that such a laboratory is funded by the United States raises suspicions in Togusov. "If it was funded by an international organization, then there would have been at list some way to control the developments as well as a mutual, collective responsibility. Besides, why is it the United States? Why not some European country? Why not the member-countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) or the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO)? (...) The one who pays, dictates the terms," the Kazakhstan General said.

Togusov pointed out that the Unites States had facilitated creation of similar laboratories in many countries of the world, including Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan. "There were a couple of cases of saiga mortality in Uzbekistan. Are there any guarantees that those weren't tests of biological weapons?" he elaborated.

Some international experts believe that the United States are building laboratories in third countries to keep their own country away from the hazardous viruses. However, Togusov considers this statement poorly grounded. He compares the infectious diseases laboratories with military bases, pointing out the fact that the number of American military bases all over the world grew to 850 during the presidency of Barack Obama. The ex-Deputy Defense Minister of Kazakhstan is sure that global military security issues, as well as biological security issues, must be handled by international organizations, not by any one given country.

General Togusov is sure that the new widely publicized laboratory will attract attention of terrorist groups. "They will try to destabilize the situation in Central Asia; they will use this laboratory by destroying it. Terrorists have missile weapons now. Technically, it is quite realistic to blow up a lab like this, especially if terrorist forces of international scale will get down to it," Togusov said, adding that is it practically impossible to guarantee full security of a facility of this sort. 

Meanwhile, the Kazakhstan's National Committee of Sanitary and Epidemiological Control of the Healthcare Ministry of Kazakhstan assured that it would be impossible to create any biological weapons in the new lab. "The Central Reference Laboratory can't be used for development of bacteriological weapons, because the project does not have the capacities for synthesizing genetically modified microorganisms," the authority said.

The Central Reference Laboratory will use the base of the Kazakh Kazakh Scientific Center of Quarantine and Zoonotic diseases. The construction of the venue will be completed in 2015. American developer AECOM is the General Contractor fully supervising the construction process. It is expected that after new quarters of the lab are commissioned the building will be transferred to Kazakhstan for further use.

In the video Bakhyt Atshabar, Director of Kazakh Scientific Center of Quarantine and Zoonotic Diseases, is telling about the Almaty Laboratory and its future uses: 

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