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Former Islamic State Fighter From Kazakhstan Warns Others In opposition to Jihadi Recruiters

QARAGHANDY, Kazakhstan — Daniyar was amongst some 150 Kazakhs featured in an notorious propaganda video that Islamic State (IS) launched in 2013 bragging in regards to the international recruits who joined the Islamic terrorist group in Syria.

Lots of the males, girls, and kids within the video are thought to have since been killed in preventing or by the air raids in former IS-controlled territories in Syria and Iraq.

Daniyar — whose full title gained’t be disclosed for privateness causes — survived the struggle and returned to Kazakhstan to face costs of involvement in a terrorist group and its propaganda.

Talking at a jail within the Qaraghandy area in central Kazakhstan, the place he’s serving a 10-year sentence, Daniyar instructed RFE/RL he desires to share his story of grave “errors” and his disillusionment with IS in order that he can forestall others from falling sufferer to jihadi recruiters.

The 29-year-old Daniyar admits mendacity to his spouse when he took her to Syria in 2013. He additionally acknowledges getting one month of IS navy coaching however claims he took half in IS navy operations “solely as soon as.”

Rising up in a small, impoverished city within the province of Qaraghandy, Daniyar turned taken with Islam, attended mosque, and discovered Arabic. In 2013, Daniyar and his associates began watching jihadi movies on-line.

“The movies depicted Syrian Muslims as being oppressed and killed only for being Muslims, and that they wanted assist. It introduced robust feelings and tears,” he says.

Daniyar appeared in an infamous 2013 Islamic State propaganda video that showed the terrorist group’s Kazakh recruits before it declared a self-styled caliphate.

Daniyar appeared in an notorious 2013 Islamic State propaganda video that confirmed the terrorist group’s Kazakh recruits earlier than it declared a self-styled caliphate.

In hindsight, he is aware of it was recruitment materials designed to lure folks within the title of Islam to comply with IS in Syria, Daniyar says.

However again then, Daniyar — who was 20 years previous — fell for the IS propaganda and headed to Syria alongside together with his new spouse to meet what he thought was his spiritual obligation.

The Video

Within the autumn in 2013, IS launched a video that shocked many individuals in Kazakhstan.

The 20 minutes of footage — titled The Muslim Household Of 150 Folks Who Moved To [Syria] — featured kids and gun-brandishing adults who stated they’d come to Syria “for jihad on the Lord’s calling.”

The group spoke Kazakh, Russian, and Arabic inside a villa with a black-and-white Islamic State flag hanging on the wall. On the time, the terrorist group was nonetheless comparatively unknown to the remainder of the world.

Extra movies of Kazakh-speaking IS recruits have been launched within the following years, depicting younger girls and boys getting weapons coaching.

Kazakh-speaking males — offered as contemporary recruits from Kazakhstan — have been proven receiving specialist sniper coaching and assault programs whereas additionally jogging in a desert.

One other IS video purportedly confirmed a Kazakh youngster executing two males — a Kazakh and a Russian — accused by IS of being international spies.

The prison in the Qaraghandy region where Daniyar is serving his sentence.

The jail within the Qaraghandy area the place Daniyar is serving his sentence.

Nearly all of those that appeared within the movies didn’t put on face masks or balaclavas, subsequently making it simpler for Kazakh authorities and relations to establish them.

“My mom noticed the video and acknowledged me,” says Daniyar, who appeared within the first clip.

Recalling the circumstances of how the footage was recorded, Daniyar instructed RFE/RL that originally he didn’t know the video could be distributed internationally.

“They filmed us and the youngsters throughout a feast and shared it on the Web, saying foreigners have introduced their households right here, they’re pleased right here,” Daniyar says. “I believed they have been recording it only for themselves.”

He stated when he came upon that “the video was proven on information channels all over the place,” he referred to as his mom in Kazakhstan to inform her he was in Syria.

I wish to make amends for my guilt in entrance of my dad and mom. I wish to take care of my kids. I don’t need them to see struggle.”

“She cried and begged me to return or a minimum of to ship residence my spouse and our new child son,” he says. However Daniyar wasn’t going to do this.

Daniyar acquired a second spouse — a fellow Kazakh — in Syria. He fathered 4 kids together with his first spouse and two with the second.

Daniyar was wounded in fight, which he claims was the one time he took half in preventing. Unable to struggle due to his accidents, Daniyar says he was assigned to assist IS widows, accompanying them to the bazaar and the hospital.

His claims can’t be independently confirmed.

Clear Slate

Within the ultimate days of the self-declared caliphate in early 2019, Daniyar managed to flee Islamic State’s final stronghold, in Baghuz, “by hiding amongst girls and kids who got secure passage” by Kurdish forces.

He ultimately surrendered to the Kurds and Daniyar and his household have been repatriated by the Kazakh authorities in a course of that has introduced again a whole bunch of its residents from Syria and Iraq.

The Central Asian nation has repatriated greater than 700 Kazakh residents in a particular operation, referred to as Zhusan, that started in 2018. A lot of the returnees have resumed their “regular” lives after present process medical checkups, interrogations, and a stint in rehabilitation services.

However one other 53 of the returnees have been imprisoned for terrorism-related offenses.

Daniyar has served three years of his 10-year sentence. He says he’s pleased to be alive and have his household in security. He works as a barber within the jail and sends his wage to his household.

“I wish to make amends for my guilt in entrance of my dad and mom. I wish to take care of my kids. I don’t need them to see struggle,” he says. “I understand how terrifying struggle is.”

Daniyar desires to get a job at a mine or in commerce as soon as he’s free of jail so he can resume his regular life.

Written by Farangis Najibullah primarily based on reporting by RFE/RL Kazakh Service correspondent Yelena Veber.


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