April 7 – Courage Day

The seventh of April in the Republic of Kazakhstan is the Day of Courage and memory of 17 soldiers who died in 1995 in the performance of military duty on the Tajik-Afghan border.

According to interstate contracts of May 15, 1992 “About collective safety” and the decision of the Supreme body of the Republic of Kazakhstan from December, 23rd, 1992 the decision on direction of a composite company of internal armies within a composite battalion of the Republic of Kazakhstan on strengthening external borders of the CIS in the area of the Tajik-Afghan area in Kalaj-Khumb has been accepted. Through the Tajik-Afghan border passed hundreds of soldiers of the Interior Forces, which as part of a composite battalion 20 times performed combat missions in the protection of the site on the Tajik-Afghan border.

“On April 7, 1995, a composite company of the Shymkent Regiment of the Interior Troops, while escorting cargo, was attacked by illegal armed gangs, during which the soldiers of the composite company showed courage and fearlessness, took unequal combat with superior enemy forces and gave them a decisive repulse,” said a press release distributed on Thursday.

Seventeen Kazakh servicemen were killed and 33 others were wounded in the battle.

As indicated in the message, about a hundred Kazakh servicemen who fulfilled their duty to protect the Tajik-Afghan border were awarded state decorations of Kazakhstan and Russia.

Streets, schools, parks and squares in various regions of Kazakhstan are named after the dead soldiers.

Source: https://online.zakon.kz

After the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 90’s there was a real war on the Tajik-Afghan border. The leadership of Afghanistan admitted that it was unable to control the situation in the border areas. In order to protect the southern borders, the heads of the CIS states decided to protect them jointly, since there was an almost unimpeded flow of drugs and weapons from that side.
A separate composite Kazakhstani battalion was stationed in mountainous Badakhshan and fulfilled the combat mission of guarding the Tajik-Afghan border during the crisis period after the beginning of the civil war in Tajikistan. Russian, Uzbek and Kyrgyz units fulfilled similar tasks alongside the Kazakhstani battalion on adjacent areas, Talgat Ispayev, chairman of the Karaganda branch of the Union of Veterans of Hostilities on the Tajik-Afghan Border and Local Conflicts, said. Talgat Ispayev.
Initially an independent airborne battalion of 300 soldiers from the 35th separate Guards Airborne Brigade stationed in Kapchagai was sent to Tajikistan in autumn 1992. And in the spring of 1993 was formed a separate combined rifle battalion of five companies from the three military departments – the Defense Ministry, the Interior and the Border Guard of the KNB. The combat mission of the Kazakhstani military in Tajikistan was to strengthen the checkpoints and outposts of Russian border troops, first in the town of Khorog, and then in the village of Kalai-Khumb. It was there that the Kazakhs suffered their first and so far heaviest casualties in their history as a result of one battle. It happened on April 7, 1995 in the Pshikhavr Gorge of the Pamirs. A company of soldiers of the internal troops during the march was ambushed and took unequal combat with the enemy. Seventeen people were killed and 33 soldiers were wounded.

During the period from 1992 to 2001 about 9 thousand servicemen of a separate composite rifle battalion took part in the defense of external borders of CIS on the Tajik-Afghan section. During clashes with armed groups of border crossers, as a result of bandit attacks on outposts, terrorist acts and sabotage 43 Kazakh soldiers were killed, over 100 people were injured with varying degrees of severity, many were contused, burned or injured. In addition, more than a dozen veterans have lost their health and are disabled to date.

In 2019, a feature film and television series, “Kazbat,” based on real events of that time, was produced with the support of the Minister of the Interior and the Commander-in-Chief of the National Guard of Kazakhstan.

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