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Tajikistan Probes IS 'Threats' Purportedly Made By Fugitive Police Commander

Gulmurod Halimov (file photo)
Gulmurod Halimov (file photo)

Tajik authorities are reportedly investigating threats purportedly made by a former Tajik police colonel who joined the Islamic State (IS) extremist group in Syria.

The Reuters news agency quoted two Tajik security service sources as saying on September 6 that some Tajik servicemen received text messages on their mobile phones in fugitive police commander Gulmurod Halimov's name.

In the messages -- allegedly received this week -- he promised to "congratulate" the servicemen on Tajikistan's Independence Day on September 9, the sources told Reuters.

According to Iraqi media reports on September 3, Halimov had recently been appointed a high-ranking IS commander.

Iraqi media said Halimov replaced IS commander Umar al-Shishani, who was reportedly killed in July in northern Iraq.

On August 30, the U.S. State Department called Halimov a key member of IS and offered a reward of $3 million for information on his whereabouts.

Tajik authorities said on September 5 that they are taking measures to prevent any destabilization attempts in Tajikistan by Halimov and his supporters.

Halimov, the former commander of the Tajik Interior Ministry's special forces, known as OMON, joined IS in April 2015.

Tajik authorities say he has been seriously injured twice in Syria.

Based on reporting by Reuters and RFE/RL's Tajik Service