After news emerged last week that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had included Kazakhstan on a list of countries "that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members," the Kazakhstan government has publicly objected and the U.S. embassy in Astana has stepped back from the claim.
A spokesman for the Kazakhstan foreign ministry said the U.S. list "contradicts the existing spirit of strategic partnership" between the two countries":
Foreign Ministry spokesman Ilyas Omarov said in Astana on July 21 that "we are puzzled and deeply concerned about the decision of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to add Kazakhstan to the list of the countries that have demonstrated the trend for the development and creation of terrorist organizations or the protection of such organizations or their representatives on their territory."
He said "the situation fundamentally contradicts the existing spirit of strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the United States, and therefore we expect our U.S. partners to take immediate action to correct it."
And the U.S. embassy in Astana issued a statement Friday explaining that "[t]he U.S. Government does not consider that Kazakhstan in any way supports terrorism."
So does that mean the DHS is revising its policy? I asked them, and spokesman Ross Feinstein responded with this statement:
"The "Third Agency Check" (TAC) list does not create or infer any terrorism designations on countries. Further, DHS does not issue such designations. As the OIG report notes, the purpose of the additional screening is to determine whether other agencies have an interest in the alien ICE has in custody. This list of countries has been in existence for at least seven years; countries may have been included on the list because of the backgrounds of arrestees, not because of the country's government itself. The United States generally maintains close intelligence-sharing relationships with many of these countries in order to address security issues within their own borders and in our mutual pursuit of safety and security around the globe."
So basically, no: DHS is standing by its inclusion of Kazakhstan on the list.