Friday November 24, 2017
Home U.S.A. ISIS’ N...

ISIS’ New Top Recruiter Gulmurod Khalimov on US Most Wanted List: US offers $3 million reward for his capture

Khalimov, who is believed to operate from Syria, is driven by a radical Muslim ideology, say Analysts

1
219
Gulmorod Khalimov is shown in an undated photo from a U.S. State Department poster obtained Aug. 30, 2016. Image source: VOA
  • The Tajik commander’s increasingly visible role could expand IS operations beyond Syria and Iraq
  • Khalimov, 41, a former Tajik special forces colonel who trained in the U.S and Russia, is now head of armed units and in charge of military operations for IS
  • US accepted Khalimov and other members of his unit for training between 2003 and 2014, at the recommendation of Tajikistan’s government

September 6, 2016: Gulmurod Khalimov, a former Tajik military officer who is now the Islamic State group’s chief recruiter, has become one of the world’s most wanted terrorists. The United States is offering a $3 million reward for his capture.

Khalimov, 41, a former Tajik special forces colonel who trained in the U.S and Russia, is now head of armed units and in charge of military operations for IS, according to Western intelligence reports. After an airstrike last week killed Islamic State’s Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, analysts said Khalimov was elevated to serve as second in command to the overall IS leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“This further highlights the Islamic State’s leadership wishes for the group to be perceived as an entity in which people from anywhere in the world may fill important roles,” said Michael S. Smith, a counterterrorism adviser to members of the U.S Congress.

Khalimov, who is believed to operate from Syria, is driven by a radical Muslim ideology, analysts say.

https://twitter.com/NewsGram1/status/773773194423599104

“In one of his video messages he blamed Tajik officials for suppressing religious freedoms, forcing Muslim men to shave their beards and removing veils from women’s heads,” Esfandiar Adineh, an analyst based in Dushanbe, told VOA.

New focus on Central Asia?

The Tajik commander’s increasingly visible role could expand IS operations beyond Syria and Iraq, experts say.

“With his capabilities and trainings, combined with increased pressure on IS in the Middle East, there is a faint possibility that he may look more toward creating problems in Central Asia in a desperate attempt to remain relevant,” said Ethan Wilensky Lanford, an expert on Countering Violent Extremism at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Central Asia has proven to be fertile recruiting ground for IS, whose ranks now include thousands of Asian fighters in Iraq and Syria. Russia has long been aware of the IS recruitment process and worries that a stronger IS presence in Central Asia would be a growing threat to Russian national security.

“His promotion is also strategically valuable as this can bolster [IS] foreign recruitment efforts,” Smith said of Khalimov. He is said to be the organizer of a radical group known as the Cyrillic Jihadists — Russian speakers who come from the former Soviet republics.

Follow NewsGram on Twitter

“These fighters are very different from others in terms of discipline and military training, compared to their Arab and African counterparts,” said Salem al-Hammoud, an activist who fled to Turkey from the IS-controlled Syrian city of Deir Ezzor.

Islamic State’s leaders appoint the Central Asians to important posts, Hammoud says, “because they are tough and they do not sympathize with locals.” And since they do not mingle with other jihadists, he added, IS leaders view them as “a very reliable, resilient force.”

Khalimov is believed to be directing IS recruiting operations from Syria, analysts say.

A terrorist’s diary

An IS fighter from Turkey, Rashid Tugral, died in a battle in June, the extremist group said. In a diary he kept, which has been obtained by VOA, Tugral recalled that Khalimov interviewed him in Raqqa before he was accepted into Islamic State. “Most of jihadists were from Central Asia, so Khalimov asked most of his questions either in Russian or Tajiki [Dari],” Tugral wrote.

A highly trained veteran of Tajik government operations, Khalimov disappeared from Tajikistan in late April 2015 and reappeared a month later in an IS video slamming Russia and the U.S . His disdain for Americans and the West, he said, developed as a result of five counterterrorism training courses he took in the United States and Tajikistan, sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security and Anti-Terrorism Assistance program.

“Listen, you American pigs,” Khalimov said in Russian in the IS video. “I’ve been to the U.S. three times. I saw how you train soldiers to surround, attack and kill Muslims, in order to eradicate Islam.”

The U.S. accepted Khalimov and other members of his unit for training between 2003 and 2014, at the recommendation of Tajikistan’s government. A retired Tajik military officer who knew Khalimov told VOA “he was a very smart officer with a very good education in law,” but upon returning to Tajikistan, he became a vocal critic of both his own government and the U.S.

At first, Tajik leaders were stunned at his turnabout. “We were observing him and had an eye on him,” the country’s interior minister, Lieutenant-General Ramazan Rahimzadeh, said last year. No one expected “a family guy” with a senior position like Khalimov “to desert his job and family and seek his redemption by joining radical Muslim terrorists abroad,” the general added.

Follow NewsGram on Facebook

After an investigation that followed Khalimov’s abrupt turnabout, Tajik authorities said last year that he was wanted for crimes including high treason and illegal participation in military actions abroad.

According to Reuters, military officers in Tajikistan have received text messages on their mobile phones signed by Khalimov, in which he promised to “congratulate” them on the 25th anniversary of the country’s independence — the former Soviet republic’s transition to independent statehood as the USSR collapsed in 1991 — to be celebrated this week in Tashkent and throughout the Central Asian state. (VOA)

1 COMMENT

  1. Protecting your religion is one thin and spreading error is another.
    Oh but is that not what US did in Iran, Afghanistan and all other countries who had no bloody relations with America?
    But nobody sees Americas fault and most of these leader who do not come to light are not even ji.hadis. Now even terror is simply terror

    But it is the sole fault of the States and it can stop playing victim

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Next Story

Greater Scrutiny Set for Nonimmigrant Work Visa Renewals

0
175
H1B Visa, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration
A security guard looks out of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services offices in New York. VOA

United States, October 27: The United States has announced changes to its nonimmigrant work visa policies that are expected to make renewals more difficult.

In the past, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services would generally approve the renewals unless the visa holder had committed a crime. Now, renewals will face the same scrutiny as the original applications.

“USCIS officers are at the front lines of the administration’s efforts to enhance the integrity of the immigration system,” USCIS Director L. Francis Cissna said, according to the announcement posted on USCIS’ website this week. “This updated guidance provides clear direction to help advance policies that protect the interests of U.S. workers.”

The new regulations could affect more than 100,000 people holding at least eight different types of work visas who fill out the I-129 form for renewals.

Sam Adair, a partner at the Graham Adair business immigration law firm in California and Texas, said that for the most part, he expected visa holders would most likely face lengthier adjudication periods in their renewal processes, as opposed to increased numbers of denials.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a big shift for us,” Adair told VOA. “But I think what we’ll see is just an increase in the number of requests for evidence, an increase in the delays on the adjudication of these petitions, and really it’s going to just result in more costs for the employers who are filing these petitions.”

‘High-skilled’ workers

Of all visa holders affected by this policy, those in the United States on an H-1B, a visa for “high-skilled” workers, are the biggest group. Of 109,537 people who had to submit I-129 forms in fiscal 2017, 95,485 were H-1B holders, according to data sent to VOA by USCIS.

H-1B visas have been threatened in the past, most recently by a bill proposed this year that would have raised the minimum salary requirement for workers brought in on the visa. While advocates of the program argued that it would keep workers from being exploited, many H-1B holders feared that businesses would be less willing to hire them or keep them on board.

But some Americans support the new regulations, saying that nonimmigrant work visas hurt American workers.

“It’s prudent to make sure that the people that receive those visas are in complete compliance with all of the requirements,” Joe Guzzardi, national media director of Californians for Population Stabilization, told VOA.

“It just isn’t possible to think that there aren’t American workers that couldn’t fill these jobs,” he said, noting that while the regulations might hurt businesses, they would help Americans looking for work.(VOA)

Next Story

North Korea may soon be able to hit US with Nuclear Missiles ; Could a war break out soon?

Pyongyang's deputy envoy to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, warned Monday that war could break out at any moment.

0
32
NORTH KOREA
CIA Director Mike Pompeo speaks during the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) National Security Summit in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)(VOA)

Washington, October 20, 2017 : North Korea is likely just months away from being capable of striking the United States with a nuclear missile, according to two top U.S. officials.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo told a forum in Washington on Thursday he is “deeply worried” about the advancing threat from North Korea and the possibility it could spark a nuclear arms race across East Asia.

“We ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving that objective,” Pompeo said when asked about Pyongyang’s pursuit of missile technology that could launch a warhead to targets in the U.S.

“They are so far along in that it’s now a matter of thinking about how do you stop the final step?” he added.

north korea
National security adviser H.R. McMaster speaks during the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) National Security Summit in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)(VOA)

McMaster: We’re running out of time

U.S. National Security Adviser, Gen. H.R. McMaster said later on Thursday that Washington was racing to resolve the situation, short of using military force.

“We’re not out of time but we’re running out of time,” McMaster said, speaking at the same event. “Accept and deter is unacceptable.”

The comments by Pompeo and McMaster come as tensions between the U.S. and North Korea have been steadily rising following Pyongyang’s latest nuclear test last month, it’s sixth overall, and repeated tests of what intelligence officials have assessed to be both intermediate and long range ballistic missiles.

But despite warning that North Korea is just months away from being able to target the U.S., the CIA’s Pompeo cautioned there are still questions about just how “robust” the North Korea nuclear threat has become, and whether Pyongyang will be able to deliver multiple nuclear warheads to nuclear targets.

“There’s always a risk. Intelligence is imperfect,” Pompeo said, adding there is evidence Pyongyang may be getting help from Iran, citing “deep conventional weapons ties as between the two countries.”

He also warned that each North Korean test makes an arms race ever more likely.

“You watch as North Korea grows ever closer to having its capability perfected, you can imagine others in the region also thinking that they well may need that capability,” he said.

north korea
Russian President Vladimir Putin gestures while answering questions at a meeting of the Valdai International Discussion Club in Sochi, Russia (VOA)

Putin suggests force won’t work against North Korea

On Thursday, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned against the use of force to eliminate the North Korean nuclear threat, suggesting it would not work.

“Talks about a preventative, disarming strike — and we hear both hints and open threats — this is very dangerous,” Putin said during a speaking engagement in Sochi.

“Who knows what and where is hidden in North Korea? And whether all of it can be destroyed with one strike, I doubt it,” he said. “I’m almost sure it is impossible.”

North Korean officials have also repeatedly warned the U.S. against any provocations.

Pyongyang’s deputy envoy to the United Nations, Kim In Ryong, warned Monday that war could break out at any moment.

Other North Korean officials have accused the U.S. of making preparations for war, citing the presence of the USS Ronald Reagan, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, conducting exercises to the east of the Korean Peninsula.

Next Story

United States Bombers Fly Near To North Korea’s Coast

The US flew bombers near North Korea's coast on Saturday, an action the Defense Department said was meant to send a clear message to Pyongyang about the country's military options.

0
41
Bombers
Source: Wikimedia Common

Washington, September 24, 2017: The US flew bombers near North Korea’s coast on Saturday, an action the Defense Department said was meant to send a clear message to Pyongyang about the country’s military options.

“This mission is a demonstration of US resolve and a clear message that (President Donald Trump) has many military options to defeat any threat,” Pentagon spokeswoman Dana White said in a statement, Efe news reported.

“North Korea’s weapons program is a grave threat to the Asia-Pacific region and the entire international community. We are prepared to use the full range of military capabilities to defend the US homeland and our allies,” the statement added.

White said US Air Force B-1B bombers from the US island territory of Guam and US Air Force F-15C Eagle fighter escorts from Okinawa, Japan “flew in international airspace over waters east of North Korea.”

“This is the farthest north of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) any US fighter or bomber aircraft have flown off North Korea’s coast in the 21st century, underscoring the seriousness with which we take (North Korea’s) reckless behavior,” White said.

The Pentagon’s announcement came before North Korea addressed the United Nations’ General Assembly on Saturday and after the US imposed new sanctions on Pyongyang this week.

Those new sanctions bar ships and aircraft from visiting the US within 180 days of having gone to North Korea.

The ban also applies to vessels that have done a ship-to-ship transfer with a vessel that has visited North Korea within 180 days.

Trump ordered the sanctions via a decree whose aim is to “maximize pressure on North Korea to demonstrate to its leadership that the best and only path is to return to denuclearization.”

A new nuclear test by Pyongyang earlier this month and Trump’s belligerent rhetoric have caused tensions on the Korean peninsula to soar over the last year.

Seismic activity Saturday in North Korea, meanwhile, sparked fears that Pyongyang may have conducted yet another nuclear test, but experts said the small earthquake was probably due to natural causes.

North Korea has refused to back down in the face of international pressure and on Saturday said it was nearing completion of its nuclear goals but that its program was intended merely as a deterrent.

“We do not have any intention at all to use or threaten to use nuclear weapons against the countries that do not join in the US military actions against (the Asian nation),” North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho told the UN General Assembly on Saturday.

Ri on Friday said North Korea may test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific Ocean, making those remarks after Trump inflamed tensions in his debut speech before the UN.

Trump ominously warned Pyongyang on Tuesday that the US would obliterate the Asian country if necessary.

“The United States has great strength and patience, but if it is forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea,” Trump said in his UN speech. (IANS)

ALSO READ: India-based technology company Infosys to create 10,000 jobs in the United States