British forces train Kazakh peacekeeping troops

British sol­diers have played a key role in a large-scale, multi­na­tion­al mil­i­tary exer­cise in Kaza­khstan this August help­ing the Kaza­kh Min­istry of Defence to devel­op a NATO inter­op­er­a­ble brigade.

British trainer Lieutenant Colonel John Wallis overseas a river crossing using a Kazakh logistic raft during Exercise Steppe Eagle 2010
British train­er Lieu­tenant Colonel John Wal­lis over­seas a riv­er cross­ing using a Kaza­kh logis­tic raft dur­ing Exer­cise Steppe Eagle 2010
Source: Min­istry of Defence, UK
Click to enlarge

‘Exer­cise Steppe Eagle’ is held annu­al­ly with the aim of devel­op­ing a Kaza­kh force capa­ble of deploy­ing on UN-man­dat­ed peace sup­port operations. 

Sol­diers from USARCENT (Unit­ed States Army Forces Cen­tral Com­mand) and the Tajik Defence Min­istry were also present for the exercise. 

The goal for the British sol­diers this year was to help train the Kaza­kh train­ing and men­tor­ing team. 

Sol­diers were cho­sen from the Infantry Train­ing Cen­tre in Cat­t­er­ick with suit­able expe­ri­ence; they were involved in train­ing their Kaza­kh coun­ter­parts in a vari­ety of drills, from first aid and med­ical sup­port plans to man­ning check­points and roadblocks. 

The sol­diers — who came from The Scots Guards, The Welsh Guards, 1st Bat­tal­ion The York­shire Reg­i­ment and 3rd Bat­tal­ion The Para­chute Reg­i­ment — worked for two weeks at the Illikisey Train­ing Area, 40km north west of Almaty in south­ern Kazakhstan. 

Tem­per­a­tures often exceed­ed 35 degrees Cel­sius dur­ing the week. 

Her Majesty’s Ambas­sador to Kaza­khstan, David Moran, who attend­ed the clos­ing cer­e­mo­ny of Exer­cise Steppe Eagle, said: 

“I am delight­ed to see the val­ues of pro­fes­sion­al­ism that are shared by our two coun­tries, and that the ties between the British and Kaza­kh Armed Forces con­tin­ue to grow ever closer. 

“I very much hope that we will be able to con­tin­ue to sup­port this exer­cise in the future.” 

Major Gen­er­al Jeff Mason Roy­al Marines, Assis­tant Chief of the Defence Staff (Logis­tic Oper­a­tions), also attend­ed the clos­ing cer­e­mo­ny and held sev­er­al meet­ings with Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al Sem­bi­nov, Deputy Defence Min­is­ter of Kazakhstan. 

Gen­er­al Sem­bi­nov expressed his grat­i­tude for the UK par­tic­i­pa­tion this year, stress­ing the ben­e­fits of shar­ing expe­ri­ence, and out­lined a num­ber of areas for future co-operation. 

Major Gen­er­al Mason said: 

“This is a NATO-sup­port­ed multi­na­tion­al exer­cise, under Kazakhstan’s Indi­vid­ual Part­ner­ship for Peace action plan. 

“The UK has con­tributed to this exer­cise for the last eight years, and I am pleased to wit­ness at first hand the encour­ag­ing progress that the Kaza­kh Armed Forces have made. 

“I look for­ward to our defence rela­tions devel­op­ing even fur­ther through future exer­cis­es and through our oth­er joint pro­grammes of work.” 

Lieu­tenant Gen­er­al William G Web­ster of USARCENT, com­man­der of US ground forces in Cen­tral Asia and the Mid­dle East, said: 

“The past per­for­mance of our Kaza­kh broth­ers in Iraq demon­strates that this exer­cise has clear ben­e­fits. We will leave here bet­ter com­rades and with our vision for the future reinforced.” 

Sak­en Zha­suza­kov, First Deputy of the Repub­lic of Kaza­khstan, said: 

“This was a qual­i­ty exer­cise. Troops devel­oped mutu­al under­stand­ing, inter­op­er­abil­i­ty, tac­ti­cal team­work and con­trol­la­bil­i­ty. I hope that the Steppe Eagle exer­cis­es will con­tin­ue, and that we will hold a more large-scale drill next year.” 

A British mil­i­tary assess­ment team also joined sol­diers from USARCENT in deter­min­ing the progress made by the Kazakhs. 

They observed sol­diers from KAZBAT (Kazakhstan’s peace­keep­ing bat­tal­ion) and KAZBRIG (the brigade head­quar­ters) run through a vari­ety of sce­nar­ios includ­ing an emer­gency riv­er cross­ing, a para­chute drop to pro­vide med­ical assis­tance, a dum­my chem­i­cal attack and a mock sce­nario where two sui­cide bombers approached a checkpoint. 

The joint assess­ment team con­clud­ed that the KAZBAT and KAZBRIG were mak­ing good progress toward full inter­op­er­abil­i­ty with NATO forces, demon­strat­ing a promis­ing capa­bil­i­ty for peace sup­port operations. 

Press release
Min­istry of Defence, UK 

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