RealNews

U.S. Entangled in Mystery of Georgia's Islamic Fighters

For months, local residents say, the group of 15 Arab and Central Asian fighters lived quietly in a two-story house here, among the hundreds of guerrillas who had turned this wooded vale near the Russian border into a burgeoning center of Islamic militancy. Like many of those who gathered here, the fighters had come over the snowy passes from Chechnya, where they had been helping their fellow Muslims in their struggle to break with the Russian republic. They exercised to stay in shape and went into the woods to practice shooting. Some of the militants departed, presumably for Russia, while new ones came to prepare for the fight. The departure of the Islamic fighters from this gorge in the Caucasus Mountains appears to represent an uncertain victory for the Bush administration, which last year asserted that the area had become a center of activity by Al Qaeda. To help Georgia confront the threat, the administration dispatched a team of Green Berets last year to provide military training to the country’s troops. Full Story

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