Despite experiencing economic growth from 2010, Kyrgyzstan remains economically and politically unpredictable. This is impart due to the high levels of poverty, the lack of effective infrastructure and corruption. Although Kyrgyzstan is the only working democratic regime in Central Asia, it is frequently subject to violence and unrest surrounding elections and other political events. This unrest has in the past led to wider ethnic clashes between the minority Uzbek population and the majority Kyrgyzs.

The southern regions of Kyrgyzstan; Batken and Osh provinces; are the most unpredictable. The inter-ethnic clashes were most violent in these regions due to the increased poverty and the subsequent social pressures of high levels of crime and corruption, this alongside the existing ethnic tensions, which are still present. The south of Kyrgyzstan is home to large scale drug trafficking operations, which move narcotics from Afghanistan to the world markets. Terrorism is also a concern as the south of the country is used as a recruiting ground for extremist Islamic groups such as the Taliban, Al Qaeda, and recently IS. Although domestically the terror threat is low the presence of such groups is a cause for concern.

Kyrgyzstan also has mixed relations with its neighbours due to disagreement over resources as well as poor infrastructure connections. Although not hostile, the border regions are also subject to sporadic violence. This is often due to the numerous exclaves and enclaves on both sides of the border. The Tajikistan-Kyrgyzstan border is the most unpredictable, however the Uzbekistan-Kyrgyzstan border is also affected.

Security Concerns


Bishkek – Capital

  • Protest sand demonstrations can break out without warning
  • Presidential Administration building, the Parliament, and on Alatoo Square in Bishkek’s city  centre


  • Drug trafficking
  • No widespread violence since 2010, ethnic and political tensions continue to exist


  • No widespread violence since 2010, ethnic and political tensions continue to exist


  • Drug trafficking
  • No widespread violence since 2010, ethnic and political tensions continue to exist
  • Terrorism Threat

Issyk Kul province

  • Unrest 2013 Barskoon village
  • Kumtor Gold mine

Kyrgyz/Uzbek border

  • Borders are subject to closure without notice
  • Security incidents in this region and several gunfire exchanges
  • Unofficial border crossings

Kyrgyz/Tajik Border

  • Vorukh enclave in July 2014
  • Villages Kok-Tash and Chorkuh in August 2015

Security Forecast

Historical Security Summary

 Kyrgyzstan has known periods of unrest since the fall of the Soviet Union.

The first was the Tulip Revolution in 2005 where the president and dictator Askar Akayevich Akayev was overthrown. Since the fall of the Soviet Union Akayev had accumulated power into his hands and that of his confederates, which resulted in abuses of power and widespread corruption.  The Tulip Revolution occurred was triggered by a contested election in early 2005, contested due to extensive electoral malpractices. The resulting protests and riots led to Akayev fleeing the country and Bakiyev becoming president.

The 2nd major period of instability occurred in 2010 when another uprising led to the collapse of the previous government and the subsequent formation of a provisional government.  President Bakiyev fled to his stronghold of support in the south, which became the centre of the instability. In the ensuing power vacuum criminal gangs of ethnic Kyrgyz and Uzbeks fought each other, which triggered an escalation of ethnic violence.

In June 2010, inter ethnic violence killed hundreds of people and wounded thousands in the south of the country.

Parliamentary elections took place without violence in October 2010 and a new government was formed on December 17, 2010. The country held competitive presidential elections in October 2011, and President Atambayev took office on December 1, 2011.

Designed by Oliver McGough
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