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U.S. Peace Corps leaving Kazakhstan over security concerns

18 november 2011, 16:46
0
©REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
©REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. Peace Corps is recalling its English teachers from Kazakhstan, Interfax-Kazakhstan reports citing international school Assol that works with the Peace Corps and USAID.

“Yesterday I received a notification from the U.S. Embassy in Kazakhstan saying that because of the escalating concerns over manifestations of religious extremists, the Peace Corps is recalling its teachers from Kazakhstan,” principal of Assol school in Karaganda Larissa Koissina said.

According to her, the volunteers were saying that “they are concerned about their security after the recent events in Taraz and the wave of rumors in Karaganda and other regions of the country.”

The new agency has not yet managed to obtain comments from the U.S. Embassy or representative offices of the Peace Corps.

But here is what Emily, one for the Peace Corps volunteers, writes in her blog about the withdrawal: "Peace Corps made the decision to evacuate all of the volunteers out of the country. Within the next two weeks, all the volunteers will be leaving Kazakhstan due to political and safety concerns. The volunteers just found this information out. Peace Corps has not yet released any information officially. They will find out more information in the coming weeks. What is known is that there have been some recent terrorist attacks in country. Peace corps worked hard to provide volunteers with information about these attacks as they occurred, and they were not directed at volunteers."

Unconfirmed rumors of human sacrifices that supposedly had been prepared to conincide with Muslim Kurban-ait holiday (a religious celebration that involves animal sacrifices) were spread in several regions of Kazakhstan several weeks prior to the celebration date, November 6. Kazakhstan Interior Ministry called the residents to give no heed to such gossips saying that they were just a rowdiness.

Earlier Tengrinews.kz English reported that a terrorist attack happened in Taraz on November 12. 7 people fell victims of the attacker, five of them were police officers. The criminal blew himself up during apprehension.

Peace Corps started its activities in Kazakhstan on December 22, 1992. There are currently around 120 representatives of the Peace Corps working in Kazakhstan under two programs. Under education program around 80 volunteers teach English in Kazakhstan schools along with local teachers. Another 40 volunteers are working under the program of organization of public support with local NGOs on aiding disabled people, development of tourism, environmental protection, creation of comfortable business conditions, promotion of youth organizations and aiding women rights protection organizations.

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