by WorldTribune Staff, September 8, 2016
A Tajik national and U.S.-trained sniper has been promoted to minister of war by Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL).
Gulmurod Khalimov replaces the red-bearded Tarhan Batirashvili, better known as “Omar the Chechen,” who was killed in a U.S. airstrike in July.
The 41-year-old Khalimov underwent U.S. special arms training while heading the Tajikistan special police force. The U.S. State Department reportedly has put a $3 million bounty on Khalimov.
“The Tajik Golmurud Khalimov was elected as the first military commander in ISIL. The organization did not announce it officially because it fears that once mentioned, there might be a series of airstrikes against them,” Iraqi News said.
Khalimov, a father of eight, joined ISIL after disappearing while serving as chief of Tajikistan’s special police force in April 2015. A month later, he resurfaced in an ISIL video in which he pledged to carry out jihadist attacks against Tajikistan, Russia and the U.S.
In the video, Khalimov said he participated in five counter-terrorism training courses in the U.S. and Tajikistan from 2003 to 2014.
Interpol has issued a Red Notice for his arrest and extradition to Tajikistan, where he is being sought for treason.