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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kazakhs to Boost Military Draftee Numbers

ALMATY, Kazakhstan -- Kazakhstan will significantly boost the number of conscripts in its armed forces, the country's defense minister said Wednesday, just days after plans were unveiled to cut the number of volunteer enlistees.

Defense Minister Danial Akhmetov's proposal comes amid government insistence that the global economic crisis will not affect the Central Asian nation's military expenditure, which currently stands at about 1 percent of gross domestic product.

"Over the next three years, we will significantly increase the quantity of limited-term staff and soldiers, so as to seriously strengthen our ability to mobilize forces," Akhmetov said.

The duration of standard military service in Kazakhstan is one year.

The move to increase the number of draftees could also help provide temporary work for young Kazakh men as the unemployment situation begins to worsen. In January, Prime Minister Karimov Masimov urged the Defense Ministry to consider stepping up conscription as a remedy for avoiding deteriorating public order caused by the expected rise in joblessness. The Defense Ministry declines to state the Kazakh army's manpower, but the Global Security think tank estimates the size at 46,800.