RealNews

Georgia Recruits Chechens to Find Rebels

Georgia will recruit ethnic Chechen residents to help find Chechen rebels in the Pankisi Gorge, police said Tuesday. Zurab Tushuri, a local police chief, estimated there are 7,000 ethnic Chechens, known as Kistins, who live in the gorge. They know the terrain well and would make good scouts, he said. Under heavy pressure from the United States and Russia, Georgia this month launched the second phase of a police operation to purge the gorge of militants. Thousands of Chechens have sought refuge in the Pankisi, just over the border from Chechnya, since the start of the second Chechen war in 1999. U.S. officials say some of the rebels have ties to international terrorists. Moscow has accused Georgia of allowing Chechen rebels to use the gorge as a transit route and base of operations and ridiculed the Georgian government’s police sweeps there as a farce. Full Story

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