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Russian Taliban fighter sentenced to life in US

Washington: A Russian Taliban fighter has been sentenced to life in prison on charges of shooting down American helicopters and attacking US and Afghan forces.

Irek Ilgiz Hamidullin, 55, a Russian national and former Russian army tank commander was sentenced yesterday byUS District Judge Henry E Hudson of the Eastern District of Virginia.

“Irek Hamidullin has been sentenced to life in prison for his role in orchestrating and conducting a violent attack on Afghan and US forces in Afghanistan in 2009, and conspiring to kill members of the US military,” said Assistant Attorney General John P Carlin.

Hamidullin was captured and detained by the US military in Afghanistan and brought to the US for trial, he said.

According to court documents, on November 28, 2009, Hamidullin led a group of fighters in an attack on a border outpost known as Camp Leyza, located in the Khost Province of Afghanistan, near the border with Pakistan.

He had planned the attack for months; received approval from the Taliban and Haqqani Network; recruited other fighters; and acquired weapons for the attack, including IED’s, heavy machine guns and a shoulder-fired rocket, with the intent of shooting down US helicopters responding to the attack.