The Secret Life of an ISIS Warlord
Abu Omar al-Shishani has a fierce, gorgeous Chechen bride. He learned intelligence operations from the U.S. And his older brother may be the real genius of ISIS.
UPDATE: July 27, 2018: One of the most mysterious and dangerous of the warlords of the so-called Islamic State, Tamaz Batirashvili, has died from wounds suffered fighting in Syria, according to relatives and residents of his home village in the Republic of Georgia. Tamaz's younger brother Tarkhan, known as Abu Omar al-Shishani, was the famous red-bearded face of "Chechen" fighters serving with ISIS and until his death in 2016 had a $5 million reward on his head, offered by the United States. But as The Daily Beast reported here and in subsequent articles, Tamaz may well have been the more important ISIS commander. Following is our original story about the terrorists, their family, and the Pankisi Valley, which now has contributed 25 "martyrs" to the ISIS cause.
PANKISI GORGE, Georgia—The mother of martyrs, a woman in her fifties, is delicately beautiful and visibly in pain. She covers her hazel eyes and sobs over a photo album as the call to prayer echoes throughout the Georgian village of Jokolo, just south of the Chechen border.