Kazakhstan has banned new Islamic State (IS) video that shows Kazakh nationals, including children, participating in training exercises in Syria, according to Kazakh and Russian media reports.
The 15-minute video, titled “Race Toward Good,” was released on November 22 by IS’s media wing, Al Hayat.
In response to the video, the Kazakh Prosecutor-General’s Office issued a statement on November 24 saying that it was taking legal steps to prevent access to the video, to deem it illegal, and to prohibit its distribution in Kazakhstan, citing the country’s Communications Law.
The video “showed Kazakh citizens residing in Syria and involved in fighting with a terrorist organization. An investigation showed that the content of the video is aimed at the promotion and justification of terrorist activity,” the statement said.
“According to Kazakh law, propaganda and justifications of terrorism are prohibited. In order to avoid legal consequences, the Prosecutor-General’s Office warns of the need for the strict observance of the law and urges [people] to refrain from disseminating the banned film or individual scenes from it,” the statement added.
The video, which has English, Russian, and Arabic subtitles, invites viewers to “meet some of our newest brothers from the land of Kazakhstan” and shows a group of Kazakh nationals taking part in a training camp. A Kazakh militant then explains in Russian that these men are new recruits to IS.
Later in the video, another Russian-speaking masked militant describes what he says is a sniper training camp for the “jamaat [military group] of Kazakh brothers.”
The militant says that the Kazakh militants are being trained to use different types of rifles.
Significantly, none of the militants shown in the sniper training class are wearing masks, showing that they are not concerned about their identities being known.
The video also shows Kazakh children, who are also part of the jamaat, being taught in a school. Their Kazakh teacher explains in Kazakh that in Kazakhstan, children were “raised on the methodology of atheism…the kuffar [infidels] poisoned our minds.”
The children are also given military training. One of the children is interviewed in Arabic and says that when he grows up, he will be “the one who slaughters you, O kuffar [infidels]. I will be a mujahid [jihad fighter].”
A Significant Message From IS To Kazakhstan
This message — that IS has attracted fresh recruits from Kazakhstan — is a significant one.
The release of the video coincided with an announcement by Kazakh National Security Committee (KNB) Chairman Nurtai Abykaev, who said that there are about 300 Kazakh nationals fighting with IS, of which 150 were women. This figure is apparently based on a video published on the Internet in November 2013, which showed a group of about 150 Kazakh militants who said they had joined IS. The militants said that they had brought their wives and children with them.
By releasing a video that specifically claims new Kazakh recruits have joined IS, the extremist group is implying that the KNB’s figure of 300 militants — the November 2013 figure — is likely higher.