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Russian Who Was Alleged Taliban Leader Faces Trial In U.S.

A Russian man charged with leading a Taliban attack against U.S. forces in Afghanistan has lost his bid to avoid trial in a federal court in Virginia.

U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson on July 13 rejected Irek Hamidullin's claim that he is a prisoner of war and therefore cannot be prosecuted in civil court.

Hudson said the Taliban and affiliated terrorist organizations lack a clearly defined command structure and don't adhere to the laws and customs of war.

Hamidullin has pleaded not guilty to 15 terrorism-related charges. His trial is set for July 27.

According to U.S. officials, Hamidullin is a Russian veteran of the Soviet war in Afghanistan who stayed in the country and joined the Taliban.

He was captured in 2009 after an attack on Afghan border police and U.S. soldiers.

Based on reporting by AP and Reuters