A Kazakh-born, naturalized U.S. citizen has been charged in New York with fighting for and serving as a weapons trainer for the extremist group Islamic State (IS).
The U.S. Justice Department announced on July 19 that 42-year-old Ruslan Maratovich Asainov fought for IS for five years before being captured by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and handed over to U.S. custody.
Prosecutors in U.S. federal court in New York say Asainov traveled in 2013 from his home in Brooklyn to Turkey, and from there to Syria, where he fought until 2018.
In Syria, he reportedly rose through the ranks of IS as a sniper and then as a weapons instructor. He is also charged with attempting to recruit personnel for the extremist group.
The charges are based in part on Asainov's regular communications with an informant who was working for the New York Police Department.
According to the complaint filed by prosecutors, he tried to recruit the informant to work for IS and requested money for military equipment.