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Carla B. Menezes: Chechnya and the Russians

In his article "We are not your enemy in the war on terror" (Views, June 19), Akhmed Zakaev casts the Russians in the role of villains, but says nothing about the Chechen warlords, under whose command tens of thousands of ethnic Russians were driven out of Chechnya and many others became victims of murder, kidnapping and trafficking..

Zakaev also fails to answer one central question: Why have the Chechen rebels not taken advantage of the new democratic freedoms in Russia to improve their lives, instead of engaging in a senseless war? What of the external support to the rebels' cause from Turkey - a NATO member- and Islamic groups that trained in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Kosovo?

Zakaev fails to mention that after Russia conceded virtual independence to the territory in 1996, Chechen warlords invaded the neighboring republic of Daghestan. What exactly is the rebels' agenda and why are newspaper editorials in Washington, London and Paris silent each time there is a Chechen terror attack in Moscow?

Carla B. Menezes, Faro, Portugal