Friday, November 18, 2011

US Peace Corps To Pull Out of Kazakhstan

The US Embassy in Almaty [Kazakhstan] announced earlier today (November 18) that the US Peace Corps is terminating its operations in the Central Asian nation. The Peace Corps has been in Kazakhstan since shortly after the former Soviet country gained independence in 1991. Currently, there are 121 PC volunteers Kazakhstan.

COMMENT: The US made no announcement as to why the Peace Corps was leaving the country, although a PCV (Peace Corps Volunteer) was reportedly raped earlier this month. PCVs continue to assert that the PC does not provide adequate security to its volunteers, which is true.

An Islamic suicide-bomber killed seven people and blew himself up in the southern city of Taraz on Saturday (November 12), the latest in a series of attacks in the oil-producing state.

Kazakhstan, four times the size of Texas, is a predominantly Muslim country of 16.6 million people. The oil-producing country, Central Asia's largest economy, has seen an unprecedented spate of militant attacks this year.

There are also rumors that USAID, the Department of State's foreign assistance arm, may also be ending its operations in Kazakhstan.

As the US government prepares to drastically trim the unprecedented US$15 trillion budget deficit, it is also entirely possible that reducing government staffing at US embassies is one way of cutting costs.

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