Former Tajik special forces colonel becomes top Daesh commander in Iraq


DUSHANBE (TCA) — Former Tajikistan Special Forces colonel Gulmurod Khalimov has become the top Daesh (ISIS) battlefield commander in Iraq after defecting last year and swearing jihad against the West, Sputnik news agency reports.

The US State Department responded to the news by placing a $3 million bounty on Khalimov pursuant to the Rewards for Justice Program.

Former Tajikistan special operations colonel, police commander, and military sniper Gulmurod Khalimov is an Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) member and recruiter. He was the commander of a special paramilitary unit in the Tajikistan Ministry of the Interior. Khalimov appeared in a propaganda video confirming that he fights for ISIL and has called publicly for violent acts against Americans.

On September 29, 2015, the U.S. Department of State designated Khalimov as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist. Khalimov is also wanted by the Government of Tajikistan.

The former paramilitary unit commander of the Tajikistan armed forces received his battlefield training from American advisors and even came to the United States on several occasions to receive special counterterrorism training through the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security/Anti-Terrorism Assistance program prior to his defection into the jihadist organization.

Daesh refused to officially announce that Khalimov had been promoted to the top ranks of the terrorist organization out of concern that he would become a high-priority target of US led strikes in Iraq, but Iraq’s Al Sumaria news agency exposed the promotion through a source in Nineveh province.

Sergey Kwan