President Tokayev urges Collective Security Treaty Organisation, a regional military alliance, to help against "foreign-trained terrorist gangs" who he says were seizing buildings, infrastructure and weapons amid widespread unrest.
Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has appealed Russia-led security bloc to assist his country in overcoming what he called a "terrorist threat".
"Today I appealed to the heads of CSTO (Collective Security Treaty Organisation) states to assist Kazakhstan in overcoming this terrorist threat," Tokayev said on early Thursday.
He said what he described as foreign-trained terrorist gangs were seizing buildings, infrastructure and weapons. They had taken control of the airport in the biggest city, Almaty, and five aircraft there, including foreign planes, he said.
"It is actually no longer a threat, it is an undermining of the integrity of the state and most importantly it is an attack on our citizens who are asking me... to help them urgently," Tokayev said.
"Almaty was attacked, destroyed, vandalised, the residents of Almaty became victims of attacks by terrorists, bandits, therefore it is our duty... to take all possible actions to protect our state."
Tokayev made a second televised speech in the space of a few hours as the Central Asian republic faces the worst unrest in more than a decade, initially triggered by a fuel price rise.
CSTO is a military alliance of Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan.
He did not say what response he had received.
Tokayev, who earlier imposed a nationwide state of emergency, said that terrorist groups –– which he said "received extensive training abroad" –– are "currently rampaging" across the country.
"They are seizing buildings and infrastructure and, most importantly, are seizing the premises where small arms are located," he said, adding that they had also se ized five planes at the airport in the country's biggest city Almaty.
"There's currently a battle ongoing near Almaty with the air forces of the Defence Ministry, a stubborn battle," Tokayev claimed.
Kazakhstan, the ninth-largest country in the world, borders Russia to the north and China to the east and has extensive oil reserves that make it strategically and economically important.