Safety and Security
Supporters of extremist groups such as the Islamic Jihad Union, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, al-Qaida, and the Eastern Turkistan Islamic Movement have expressed anti-U.S. sentiments and may attempt to target U.S. Government or private interests in the region, including in Kazakhstan. Extremist tactics, including the use of suicide bombers, which were employed by extremists against U.S. targets in neighboring Uzbekistan in 2004, were used for the first time in Kazakhstan in 2011.Because of increased security at official U.S. facilities, terrorists may also target "soft" civilian targets such as commercial or residential areas, clubs and restaurants, places of worship, hotels, schools, outdoor recreation events, resorts, beaches, maritime facilities, and aircraft.
Following several attacks against local authorities in Western Kazakhstan in 2012, the U.S. Mission in Kazakhstan encourages U.S. citizens resident in, or traveling to, Western Kazakhstan to remain vigilant. Although previous violent activity has primarily been directed towards Kazakhstani governmental entities, it is possible that this focus could shift to other targets. In addition, law enforcement agencies have conducted anti-terrorist operations against suspected terrorists in populated areas throughout the country.
Kazakhstani security personnel may at times place foreign visitors under surveillance. Hotel rooms, telephones and fax machines may be monitored, and personal possessions in hotel rooms may be searched. Taking photographs of anything that could be perceived as being of military or security interest may result in problems with authorities.