Relations with Kazakhstan

  • Last updated: 12 Dec. 2017 14:03

NATO and Kazakhstan actively cooperate on democratic, institutional, and defence reforms and have developed practical cooperation in many other areas.

Views of the Palace of Independence, Astana, Kazakhstan



  • Dialogue with Kazakhstan started in 1992, when the country joined the North Atlantic Cooperation Council (later renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council) and practical cooperation began when it joined the Partnership for Peace in 1995.
  • Objectives for cooperation are set out in an Individual Partnership Action Plan.

More background information

  • Key areas of cooperation

    Security cooperation

    Kazakhstan has designated an infantry battalion called KAZBAT for potential deployment in NATO-led peace support operations, under UN Security Council mandates. KAZBAT became operable as planned and elements of this battalion have joined NATO Allies in a number of live exercises. In the framework of PARP, the expansion of this force into a full brigade organisation – KAZBRIG – is a major project aimed to give Kazakhstan the rotational capability to continuously sustain a battalion-sized contribution.

    In 2010, Kazakhstan, along with Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan and Belarus completed an agreement with NATO allowing the transportation of non-lethal ISAF cargo to Afghanistan by rail. As of 2012, NATO also has an agreement with Kazakhstan (as well as with several other Central Asian countries and with Russia) for the redeployment of non-lethal cargo from Afghanistan.

    Kazakhstan plays an active role in both hosting and participating in PfP training and exercises. In consultation with the Allies, Kazakhstan has established a PfP regional training centre, and continues to work with Allies and regional partners in military and language training techniques.

    Kazakhstan contributes to the fight against terrorism through its participation in the Partnership Action Plan on Terrorism. This includes sharing information and analysis with NATO, enhancing national counter-terrorist capabilities and improving border security.

    Since 2006, Kazakhstan, in cooperation with NATO Allies and regional partners, has hosted annual military exercises, named “Steppe Eagle”. These exercises have contributed to strengthening the interoperability of KAZBAT with Alliance forces.

    Defence and security sector reform

    NATO is supportive of the democratic and institutional reform process underway in Kazakhstan, which is outlined in its IPAP. Specifically in the area of defence and security sector reform, NATO and individual Allies have considerable expertise that Kazakhstan can draw upon.

    Kazakhstan’s participation in the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP) since 2002 has helped develop the ability of its forces to work with NATO. Kazakhstan seeks to attain interoperability between elements of its armed forces and those of NATO Allies. Joint work continues on the further development of a peacekeeping battalion to work alongside NATO Allies.

    Kazakhstan’s PfP Training Centre (KAZCENT) was accredited by NATO as a Partnership Training and Education Centre in December 2010. KAZCENT offers annual courses open to Allies and partner countries on military English, NATO staff procedures, and a five-day familiarisation course on the history, economy, and culture of Central Asia and Afghanistan.

    The Defence Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP with Kazakhstan began in December 2007. Cooperation started with the Kazakhstan National Defence University to help ensure that programmes and methodologies meet international standards. Cooperation was expanded to include KAZCENT, the Non-Commissioned Officer Training Centre and the Army Defence Institute.

    Kazakh personnel also participate in a counter-narcotics training project launched by NATO and the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in 2015. The project involves five Central Asian states -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan -- as well as Afghanistan and Pakistan. It follows up on a similar initiative developed under the umbrella of the NATO-Russia Council which was suspended in the wake of Russian aggressive action in Ukraine.

    Civil emergency planning

    Kazakhstan is enhancing its national civil emergency and disaster-management capabilities in cooperation with NATO, and through participation in activities organised by the Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Centre (EADRCC). In 2009, the country hosted the EADRCC “ZHETYSU” exercise near Almaty.

    Security-related scientific cooperation

    Kazakhstan has been actively engaged within the framework of the NATO Science for Peace and Security (SPS) Programme since 1993. At present, the leading areas for cooperation include Environmental Security and Defence against Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear Agents.

    Public information

    Increasing public awareness of NATO and the benefits of its relations with Kazakhstan is also an important area of cooperation. The Resource and Information Centre on NATO at the Al Farabi Kazakh National University in Almaty, which opened in 2007, hosts a number of NATO-themed events and visits from NATO representatives annually. In addition, a NATO Depository Library was inaugurated in Astana in 2008.

  • Framework for cooperation

    Dialogue between NATO and Kazakhstan takes place within the framework of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). The NATO Secretary General’s Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia conducts high-level political dialogue with Kazakh authorities through regular visits to the country.

    NATO and Kazakhstan are developing practical cooperation in a number of areas through the country’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP). Kazakhstan sets out its reform plans and timelines in its IPAP, which is agreed for a two-year period. NATO agrees to support Kazakhstan in achieving these reforms by providing focused, country-specific advice and assistance.

    Kazakhstan also cooperates with NATO and other partner countries on a wide range of other areas through the Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme and the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.

  • Milestones in relations


    Kazakhstan joins the North Atlantic Cooperation Council, renamed the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council in 1997.


    Kazakhstan officially joins the Partnership for Peace (PfP).


    Kazakhstan holds the first annual joint peacekeeping exercise (“Steppe Eagle”) with NATO countries, aimed at improving the readiness of Kazakh peacekeeping units to take part in NATO-led operations.


    Kazakhstan is connected to the Virtual Silk Highway.


    Kazakhstan joins the PfP Planning and Review Process (PARP).


    At the Istanbul Summit, Allied leaders place special focus on Central Asia – a special NATO representative and a liaison officer are assigned to the region.


    Kazakhstan delivers its Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) presentation document to NATO.


    Kazakhstan and NATO agree on Kazakhstan’s first IPAP.


    The President of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev, visits NATO Headquarters.


    The NATO Science Partnership Prize for 2007 is awarded to two scientists from Kazakhstan and the United Kingdom for excellent collaboration on assessing radioactive contamination at the nuclear test site at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan, which was operated by the former Soviet Union.


    The NATO Information Centre opens at the Al Farabi University.


    NATO depository library is inaugurated at the National Library.


    Defence Minister Danial Akhmetov visits NATO Headquarters and briefs the North Atlantic Council on the IPAP results for the period of 2006-2008.


    NATO Secretary General, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, visits Kazakhstan. 


    Kazakhstan hosts the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC) Security Forum in Astana. 


    Kazakhstan hosts the NATO disaster response exercise ZHETYSU 2009. 


    Foreign Minister Kanat Saudabayev visits NATO Headquarters. 


    NATO completes the arrangements with several countries, including Kazakhstan, for the transit of non-lethal ISAF cargo to Afghanistan by rail. 


    President Nursultan Nazarbayev visits NATO Headquarters. 


    James Appathurai, the NATO Deputy Assistant Secretary General (DASG) for Political Affairs and Security Policy and Special Representative for Central Asia visits Kazakhstan.


    Foreign Minister Erlan Idrissov visits NATO Headquarters.