A fighter with the Islamic State group in a new online video was trained in counterterrorism tactics in the U.S., the State Department confirmed.
Col. Gulmurod Khalimov, a former police commander from Tajikistan, is shown in black garb worn by the Islamic State group and holding a sniper rifle and a bandolier of ammunition in the terror group’s new video. He claims that he participated in training programs on U.S. soil three times, one of which was in Louisiana, CNN reported Friday.
“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,” Pooja Jhunjhunwala, a spokeswoman for the State Department, told CNN.
Now Mr. Khalimov has joined the very kind of terrorists he was trained to fight.
The State Department said Mr. Khalimov was trained in crisis response, tactical management of special events, tactical leadership training and related issues, CNN reported.
Experts say Mr. Khalimov’s counterterrorism experience will give him a major advantage against U.S. forces.
“The real problem is he knows how to plan counterterrorism operations, so he knows how the people who protect the high value target will be thinking. He knows how the people who protect an embassy will be thinking,” Michael Breen, former Army intelligence officer and now-executive director of the Truman National Security Project, told CNN. “That puts him in a position, as we say in the military, to ‘red team’ that, to think very intelligently about how to disrupt those plans. That’s a dangerous capability.”
Mr. Khalimov says that he joined the Islamic State because what he saw in his training sessions turned him against his sponsors.
“Listen, you American pigs: I’ve been to America three times. I saw how you train soldiers to kill Muslims,” he says in Russian, CNN reported. “You taught your soldiers how to surround and attack, in order to exterminate Islam and Muslims.”
At one point in the video Mr. Khalimov looks directly into the camera and says “God willing, we will find your towns, we will come to your homes, and we will kill you,” CNN reported.