On Tuesday Nika Laliashvili, head of the public relations bureau of the Georgian State Security Ministry stated at a press conference that till 2002 supervisors of illegal financial flows in the Pankisi gorge were directly connected with international terrorist Osama bin Laden.
According to him, presently the Pankisi gorge is under complete control of Georgian law enforcement authorities but prior to the anti-criminal operation carried out in the gorge by the Ministry of Interior and the State Security Ministry in 2002 people of Arab origin were in the composition of illegal armed formations there.
In particular, according to the information from the Georgian State Security Ministry, religious and financial emissaries were staying in Pankisi alongside with commanders of mojaheddin combat groups.
Establishment and equipment of the Assalam military hospital in the Pankisi Gorge was also financed from sources of Al-Qaeda international terrorist organization. The same sources financed establishment of militants' training camps.