World

U.S.-Trained Special Forces Commander Joins ISIS (Video)

| by Michael Allen

Colonel Gulmurod Khalimov, an American-trained commander in Tajikistan, recently announced that he had defected to the Islamic State (ISIS).

Khalimov made the revelation in a YouTube video (below) on Wednesday, which was reported on by Central Asia TV.

Khalimov used to command OMON, the Tajik Interior Ministry's special forces, but he vanished in April, noted Reuters.

He re-appeared in the 10-minute video wearing a new beard, sitting with ISIS militants and holding a rifle. It's not clear which country Khalimov is in, but some reports suggest Syria.

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Speaking in Russian, Khalimov said that he had received training by Russian and U.S. special forces.

Khalimov states in the video, "Listen, you dogs, the president [Tajikistan's Emamoli Rahmon] and ministers, if only you knew how many boys, our brothers are here, waiting and yearning to return to reestablish sharia law there," noted The Washington Post.

Most people in Tajikistan, an impoverished post-Soviet satellite country, are Muslim.

"Listen, you American pigs, I’ve been three times to America, and I saw how you train fighters to kill Muslims. God willing, I will come with this weapon to your cities, your homes, and we will kill you," Khalimov added.

It's likely that Khalimov is not bluffing about his training.

Tajikistan News-NA reported in 2013, "U.S. Ambassador to Tajikistan, MS. Susan Elliott, has noted that Tajik OMON officers took training in the United States last year and showed high professionalism, the Interior Ministry’s website said."

EurasiaNet.org reported in 2012 about a 2009 U.S. diplomatic cable published by Wikileaks that recalled how U.S. forces "developed counterterrorism capacity within the Ministry of Internal Affairs OMON unit" in 2008.

Another U.S. cable from February 2010 stated how U.S. Special Operations Command Central would be directing U.S. special forces to provide more training because "[s]ecurity cooperation remains a strong point in our relationship with Tajikistan."

Sources: Reuters, The Washington Post, Tajikistan News-NA, EurasiaNet.org, Central Asia TV
Image Credit: Central Asia TV Screenshot