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Russian Taliban Said Was 'Doing God's Work' in Afghanistan

Artist rendering shows Irek Hamidullin, front center, his attorney Robert Wagner, front left, and interpreter Ihab Samra, front right, as judge Henry Hudson, left, listens in Federal Court in Richmond, Va. last year.

An accused Russian Taliban leader was compliant when captured in Afghanistan, and said he was doing "God's work," a former American soldier testified August 3.

Irek Hamidullin, a former Soviet tank commander who converted to Islam and was allegedly fighting for the Taliban, is the first Afghan War military combatant to be tried in U.S. federal court.

Hamidullin, 55, was charged last year with 15 criminal counts ranging from supporting terrorists to firearms offenses stemming from an assault on an Afgan Border Police base in November 2009

"He raised his hands and said [in English], 'Don't kill me, I'm a Russian citizen'," said Todd Marcum, who shot and wounded Hamidullin in the hip as he pursued insurgents who had attacked Camp Leyza in Khost Province. "He said he was just doing 'God's work'."

No Americans or Afghan troops were killed in the attack, and Hamidullin was the sole survivor among about 30 insurgents.

Marcum, now a 31-year-old fishing guide in Huntington, West Virginia, said Hamidullin threw down his weapon as he surrendered.

Hamidullin's trial is expected to last one week.

Based on reporting by AP and Richmond Times-Dispatch