Report: State Dept Offers $3M Reward for ISIS Militant Who Received U.S.-Funded Training

August 31, 2016

The State Department is offering up a $3 million reward for information about a former Tajik special operations colonel-turned Islamic State leader who reportedly once attended U.S.-funded counterterrorism training courses.

The State Department’s "Rewards for Justice" program on Tuesday offered a reward of as much as $3 million for information leading to the location, arrest, or conviction of Gulmurod Khalimov, who served as a Tajik special operations colonel, police commander, and military sniper before joining ISIS. A statement announcing the reward said that Khalimov commanded a police special operations unit in the Ministry of Interior of Tajikistan.

Reuters, citing an unnamed State Department official, reported that Khalimov attended five U.S.-funded counterterrorism courses in the United States and Tajikistan between 2003 and 2014 before joining ISIS.  Khalimov publicly appeared as an ISIS member, calling for attacks against America and other countries, in a propaganda video in May 2015 and was labeled a "special designated global terrorist" by the State Department in September of the same year.

The statement released by the agency on Tuesday made no mention of Khalimov’s past counterterrorism training.

"Khalimov is a former Tajik special operations colonel, police commander, and military sniper. He was the commander of a police special operations unit in the Ministry of Interior of Tajikistan," the department said. "He is now an ISIL member and recruiter. In May 2015, he announced in a 10-minute propaganda video that he fights for ISIL and has called publicly for violent acts against the United States, Russia, and Tajikistan."

The anonymous official who spoke to Reuters said that Khalimov’s training included "crisis response, hostage negotiation, and tactical leadership." The official indicated that the ISIS militant poses a particular threat because of his past training.

The training was reportedly funded through the State Department’s antiterrorism assistance program, which "trains civilian security and law enforcement personnel from friendly governments in police procedures that deal with terrorism," according to the program website.

The number and location of the courses Khalimov attended in the United States remain unclear.

The Washington Free Beacon reported last year that Khalimov’s defection to ISIS coupled with the group’s infiltration of the Malaysian military raised concerns among U.S. officials that ISIS was gaining military expertise.

Khalimov is also wanted by the government of Tajikistan and was added to the sanctions list of the U.N. Security Council’s ISIL (Da’esh) and al-Qaida Sanctions Committee earlier this year.