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Author`s name Michael Simpson

Georgia to be Defended by Chechens

Georgian authorities are considering the possibility of forming a National Guards battalion of Chechens living in Pankissi Gorge
This battalion may be formed next year already. Interfax news agency reports, acting commander of the Georgian army general staff, Brigadier General Vladimir Imnadze says "it is not ruled out that a national guards battalion in Pankissi Gorge may be formed of native reservists." He adds that the issue of battalion forming has not been yet decided regarding Pankissi Gorge; subdivisions of this type will be formed in several frontier regions, probably including Pankissi Gorge too.

Recently, the Georgian authorities have stated that "the Pankissi problem is settled." In other words, Georgia guarantees that no more bases of Chechen terrorists will appear on the country's territory. The problem of terrorist bases located on the territory of Georgia has been the key problem in the relations between Georgia and Russia within the past years. But official Tbilisi has been denying within a long period that a shelter of several terrorist groups was discovered in Pankissi Gorge. Today, the situation in the gorge is far from being ideal. The other day, the police discovered a large ammunition depot with 20 surface-to-air missiles. One can easily guess who is the owner of the depot.

This is not clear how a battalion of Chechens living in Pankissi Gorge can be formed under such conditions. May it happen so that terrorists participating in Chechen operations will become members of the battalion? How can Georgian authorities warrant that such people will not become part of the battalion? If they cannot guarantee this, the issue of stabilizing the Pankissi situation may finally turn out to be a myth. In a word, today it does not sound convincing when Georgian authorities say that the situation is being settled while it is reported every other day that ammunition depots are discovered now here, now there.

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