Video: Tajikistan Special Forces Chief Defects to ISIS

Tajik Govt Bans YouTube to Prevent Video's Release

The Tajikistan government has banned YouTube today after the release of an ISIS video in which their own special forces commander, Gulmurod Khalimov, announced he had defected to ISIS in Syria.

Khalimov had gone mysteriously missing earlier this month, a fact on which the Tajik government had long refused comment. The video showed him dressed in black and holding a sniper rifle, pledging jihad against Russia and the US, and vowing to return to Tajikistan to impose Sharia law.

Khalimov had been trained by Russia’s spetsnaz forces in the early post-Soviet era during the Tajik Civil War, and trained with US special forces in the United States more recently during the attempt to build up anti-Islamist forces in central Asia.

The Tajik government is continuing to avoid public comment on the video, and seems more interested in banning sites it could be viewed domestically. Tajikistan is believed to have 200-500 citizens fighting for ISIS.

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Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of Antiwar.com.