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U.S. Lists 3 Chechen Groups as 'Terrorist' and Freezes Assets

The United States designated three rebel groups in Chechnya today as “terrorist organizations” linked to Al Qaeda and imposed a freeze on their American assets. The groups were described as having been involved in the seizure of a Moscow theater last October in which 129 people died. The administration’s action, announced by the State Department, was in response to a longstanding request from Russia and reflected support for President Vladimir V. Putin at a time when the United States is seeking Russian backing for a possible war against Iraq. Richard A. Boucher, the State Department spokesman, said the groups on the list also had ties to the Taliban leaders ousted in Afghanistan. Russia has for many months asserted such a link existed as it has sought a global endorsement of its campaign against Chechen rebels. Full Story

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