Russian national indicted for 2009 terrorist attack on US forces in Afghanistan

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On November 4, 2014, Irek Ilgiz Hamidullin, 55, a Russian national, made his first appearance in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia on federal terrorism offenses, arising from his alleged participation in an attack on U.S. troops and Afghan Border Police in the Khost Province of Afghanistan in November 2009.

The charges stem from a Nov. 29, 2009 attack on Afghan police at Camp Leyza, in Khost province on Afghanistan’s eastern border with Pakistan. According to the indictment, Hamidullin took part in the attack and commanded three groups of insurgents. The indictment states that Hamidullin also planned to shoot down U.S. military helicopters. During the assault, Hamidullin fired on U.S. and Afghan forces.

Hamidullin had been a Russian officer and tank commander in the early 1980s. In 2001, he became a follower of Mullah Omar, the leader of the Afghan Taliban, according to the indictment. Since October 2009, Hamidullin also took orders from Sirajuddin Haqqani, a Taliban leader and a commander in the Haqqani Network, a Taliban-linked Islamist group.

Hamidullin was indicted by a federal grand jury on October 8, 2014 and the charging document was unsealed today. He is facing twelve counts, including conspiring to provide and providing material support to terrorists; conspiring and attempting to destroy an aircraft of the armed forces of the United States; conspiring and attempting to murder a national of the United States, as well as other related offenses. The charges against Hamidullin carry a potential maximum penalty of life imprisonment.

An indicted Russian national was taken into custody in November 2009. He was initially held by the Department of Defense in Afghanistan. Hamidullin was turned over to the FBI on November 3, 2014 and brought to the United States to face charges. He will be arraigned on November 7, 2014 in front of U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson at the federal courthouse in Richmond, Virginia.

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