DUSHANBE, Tajikistan – A high-ranking Tajik Police Commander who also worked for US Blackwater and received training from the US Army, has joined the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), reports the Dispatch News Desk news agency.
Paramilitary Police Commander Gulmurod Halimov, who disappeared from Tajikistan some weeks ago, has appeared in a video released by the terrorist organization on Tuesday, in which he explained why he joined ISIS and what his plans were for the future.
Tajikistan has a long history of radicalization, intolerance, lack of interfaith harmony, and civil war. Tajik society is strongly influenced by Afghan society that follows basic rules of tribal setup and Salafi Islam.
Halimov commanded Police in Rasht Valley and Khorog in 2012 against local Islamist insurgency sponsored by Afghan and the Pakistani Taliban.
In a YouTube video message released on May 27, he explains that he joined ISIS to protest increasing restrictions on religious freedom at home in Tajikistan and to kill Americans within America.
Intelligence sources claim that he is leading a recruitment wing of ISIS for hiring a Russian-speaking population, particularly youth from Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
In his video, he explained the philosophy behind his decision. He said he was a young man when Tajikistan gained independence from the former USSR and then the country indulged in a civil war and became a hub of Jihadis coming from Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, and other gulf states.
In the ten-minute video message, Halimov said that he led Tajikistan’s paramilitary police unit (OMON), and he was trained in the United States in 2003 and 2007 to fight against terrorists. He claimed he got training from the US Army and defense contractor Blackwater.
“I came to America three times. I saw how you train people to kill Muslims. I will come with this gun to your home and kill you,” he said in his message.
“All Tajiks, including those in Russia, should join IS and fight the regime of Emomali Rahmon,” he added.
He is not happy with the ban on Hijab in Tajikistan and claimed that the Interior Ministry paid prostitutes 10 dollars each to appear in hijabs in a recent video that the state media used to discredit Islam.
“You passed a law prohibiting prayer on the streets. But God says you can pray anywhere,” said Halimov who appealed to his country fellows to overthrow President Rahmon.
The Interior Ministry is salient over this video that appeared on You Tube and said that “it cannot be independently confirmed as authentic.”
By Friday, the video had been taken down from YouTube.
Afghan Taliban have been trying to enter Tajikistan since the beginning of year 2015, and the Afghan-Tajik border has become vulnerable. Any Islamic movement within Tajikistan will help Radical Islamists to create unrest in Tajikistan that has a long history of civil war and Islamization.
The situation is killing the tourism sector in Tajikistan, as all important outbound companies from the west are excluding Tajikistan from tours. Tajikistan, being the poorest country in Central Asia, was depending upon tourism in the past, but now it is losing hope of generating income from this sector of the economy.