05:24 GMT +3 hours29 November 2014
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Kazakhstan withdraws soldiers from Iraq

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Kazakhstan withdrew on Tuesday its 29 sappers and engineers from Iraq, where they had been stationed as part of the Multi-National Force, the country's Defense Ministry said.
ASTANA, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Kazakhstan withdrew on Tuesday its 29 sappers and engineers from Iraq, where they had been stationed as part of the Multi-National Force, the country's Defense Ministry said.

"A detachment of Kazakh sappers and engineers was withdrawn from Iraq on October 21, having completed its peacekeeping activities, fulfilled its set tasks and ended its mission in Iraq," the ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the withdrawal of the soldiers was made on the request of Iraqi authorities, and in connection with the stabilizing situation in the country.

The small Kazakh detachment helped to provide security in the country by safeguarding civilians and servicemen from mines and other explosive devices, as well as working on water purification.

In 2005 the Kazakh defense minister asked the government to withdraw the detachment from Iraq after one Kazakh soldier was killed and four others wounded, but the government refused.

As of July this year, over 4,000 American soldiers had been killed in Iraq since the invasion by U.S.-led forces in 2003. Estimates as to violent Iraqi civilian deaths due to the war vary widely, ranging from hundreds of thousands to over one million.