Kazakhstan is puzzled over its inclusion on a U.S. list that requires immigration officials to keep a special eye on its citizens as potential terrorists, the Kazakh Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
On May 20, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a document that included a list of "specially designated countries (SDCs) that have shown a tendency to promote, produce, or protect terrorist organizations or their members."
Kazakhstan was on the list, along with the former Soviet states of Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, as a country "whose people should come in for extra scrutiny to make sure they're not terrorists."
The list includes a number of close U.S. allies such as Turkey, Bahrain, Morocco and Philippines.
The Kazakh Foreign Ministry said it was puzzled over the criteria of selecting the states for this list.
"This situation totally contradicts the spirit of strategic partnership between Kazakhstan and the United States," a spokesman said, adding that Kazakhstan was waiting for the United States to explain its presence on and remove it from the list.