The An-72 crashed at 1255
GMT (7:55 a.m. EST) about 20 kilometers (12 miles) away from the city
of Shymkent near the border with Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan’s Committee for National Security said in a statement.
fatalities included a crew of seven and 20 border guards, including the
acting head of the ex-Soviet nation’s border protection service, Col.
Turganbek Stambekov, the statement said. Without specifying further
details, authorities said an investigation was opened into the crash.
was appointed acting head of the border service in June, after a mass
killing of 14 frontier troops in a remote Kazakh outpost near China the
month before. Vladislav Chelakh, a 20-year-old conscript, was sentenced
earlier this month to life in prison after being found solely
responsible for the killings.