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25 May 2018
17 March 2016

It takes 5 days for an ISIS recruiter to turn an ordinary Tajik into a jihadist

 It takes 5 days for an ISIS recruiter to turn an ordinary Tajik into a jihadist

Radio “Svoboda” in Tajikistan published a story about a 30-year old Tajik Bobojohn Karaboev who returned from “ISIS” (organization is recognized to be terrorist in Russia, Tajikistan and some other countries).

In the words of Bobojohn, a professional recruiter needs only 5 days to turn a trustful Tajik into a “jihadist”. As Bobojohn says, he once fell under the influence of such a person and turned out to be in hell (meaning “ISIS”). He repented and returned to his native country. Currently, he helps his countrymen to avoid such an error.

According to Bobojohn, it took less than a week for a professional recruiter to make him leave for Syria and join terrorists. The recruiter used the pretext of helping him to find a job in Moscow region. As stated by Karaboev, the recruiter showed him various videos and read him materials to brainwash him while “helping him with job search”.

Karaboev was a student at the military college in Dushanbe. He was expelled in 2009 and was working at private taxi service in Vahdat after that. 

“It seems like I was hypnotized. They gave me some money for travelling. I told my family that I was leaving for Germany to get a citizenship there. It was arranged that someone was waiting for me in Turkey,” – he says.

Karaboev says that he easily crossed the border between Turkey and Syria with a young Tajik and some family from Uzbekistan.
A criminal case against him was opened and he was charged with mercenarism. The charge was dropped due to his cooperation with investigation.

Karaboev states that once they got into Syria, they were accommodated in a ruined school building. There were hundreds of people there. They were sent to the camp where they studied Sharia basics and went through some military training with other men from Tajikistan. He told us that two days after his arrival in Syria, a young Tunisian was beheaded for treason before his very eyes.

“I was shocked. I realized what was going on. I started to protest against their barbarity. I was so disappointed with the whole thing that I started to plan my escape. They took my document away from me and burnt them. They did not tell me where exactly we were. There was no information who we were fighting with and who is killing whom,” he says.

He witnessed the destruction of historic monuments in Palmir and death of 50 young Tajiks. Nobody cared about their fate.

Karaboev noted that most of the Tajiks repented of coming to the place but they did not have a chance to come back. Therefore, they went to fight. He believes that they wanted to pass away so that not to see all the sufferings. He admitted that he had to fight as he would be killed otherwise.

“Islamic State” functions in accordance with strict Sharia laws. When they found out that I wanted to groom my beard, they put me in the underground prison for two days and scourged me ten times”. He was under total control because of the protest he demonstrated.

Karaboev claims that it was very hard to live in the territory controlled by the terrorist organization. Militants of “ISIS” organized public executions every day. Apart from this, airplanes constantly bombarded the area. “I do not know where these airplanes were from but even asphalt roads blew up during these bombardments. ISIS fighters made concrete shelters and we were hiding there during these airstrikes”, he says.

Commanding officers (emirs) aimed at having as many of his soldiers killed as it was possible. This made up their authority. I was told that some emirs shot up their fighters to have more ‘shakhids”.

All these cruelty made him want to leave the place even more. He says that he managed to escape when he said to one of the emirs that some of his relatives would like to join “ISIS” and they were waiting for him at the Turkey-Syria border.

“They gave me some document with which I passed ISIS posts. I did not know most of the places. They were very suspicious of me at every post,” he tells. Once in Turkey, he turned himself in to the police which passed him on to Tajikistan authorities. Karaboev noted that he was ready to be convicted in Tajikistan, but not to return to the terrorist organization.

Karaboev was released from criminal prosecution a month ago. He found a job at one of the construction sites in Dushanbe last week. He is going to earn money in a proper way now and settle down.

The young man believes that the fact that he was in ISIS has a considerable impact on his life. He is trying to marry but it is not that easy because of this. People say that they do not their daughter to be married to the man who returned from Syria.

He is currently cooperating with the law-enforcement agencies and helping them on the way of returning young men who repented and would like to leave the terrorist group. He managed to help 6 young men return to Tajikistan within the last months. Karaboev states that he is a strong opponent of the “Islamic State” and will fight this group all his life.