Kazakhstan officials angered over bioweapons facility

The U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan has angered the Kazakh opposition by revealing that the United States intends to build what it calls a dangerous biological weapons facility in Kazakhstan's largest city of Almaty.

The comments that bothered the opposition were made by outgoing U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland at an official reception last week and they were then published on the embassy’s website, according to SpaceWar.com.

At the reception, Hoagland praised the cooperation between the two countries in their efforts to prevent the spread of weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons.

"Just very recently, Kazakhstan and the United States, with the assistance of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom, fully secured for the next half century...enough highly enriched uranium and plutonium to make 775 nuclear weapons," Hoagland said, according to SpaceWar.com. "And today, we are closely engaged with Kazakhstan to construct a world-class facility in Almaty to secure dangerous biological pathogens."

The Azat National Social Democratic Party wrote to Prime Minister Karim Massimov to request details about any further agreement.

"Why has Kazakhstan been selected for the creation of such a dangerous storage site, which is especially located in a highly-seismic zone of the republic's largest city?" the party asked in the letter, according to SpaceWar.com.

The letter asked why the opposition had to learn of the agreement from the U.S. ambassador as opposed to the country’s government.

The Kazakh government confirmed that plans were underway for the construction of a new facility, but few details were offered. City officials called the building plans more of a laboratory than a storage site.