New ISIS Military Commander Was Trained by State Department as Recently as 2014
Gulmurod Khalimov, the new ISIS military commander whom the U.S. just days agoannounced a $3 million bounty for, was trained by the State Department in an anti-terror program as recently as 2014 while serving in the security service of Tajikistan.
He replaces former ISIS commander Tarkhan Batirashvili, aka Umar al-Shishani, who was also trained by the United States as part of the Georgian army and who ISIS claimed was killed fighting in Iraq this past July.
The State Department confirmed Khalimov’s U.S.-provided training to CNN in May 2015:
“From 2003-2014 Colonel Khalimov participated in five counterterrorism training courses in the United States and in Tajikistan, through the Department of State’s Diplomatic Security/Anti-Terrorism Assistance program,” said spokeswoman Pooja Jhunjhunwala.The program is intended to train candidates from participating countries in the latest counterterrorism tactics, so they can fight the very kind of militants that Khalimov has now joined.
A State Department official said Khalimov was trained in crisis response, tactical management of special events, tactical leadership training and related issues.
Unironically, the State Department spokeswoman said that Khalimov had been appropriately vetted:
“All appropriate Leahy vetting was undertaken in advance of this training,” said spokeswoman Jhunjhunwala.
At that time, Khalimov appeared in a video threatening the United States:
“Listen, you American pigs: I’ve been to America three times. I saw how you train soldiers to kill Muslims,” he says.Then, he threatens, “we will find your towns, we will come to your homes, and we will kill you.”
Khalimov and Batirashvili are hardly the first terrorist leaders operating in Syria to have been trained by the United States.