Around 1,500 Chechen Gunmen Operate In Afghanistan

According to Moscow military-diplomatic sources, Chechen gunmen have been seen in the areas of Kandahar and Khosta, and the Nangarhar province. The total number of Chechens operating in Afghanistan is around 1,500 people. About 300 Chechen gunmen are participating in operations against the Northern Alliance and task forces of the US, Turkey, and other members of the anti-terrorist coalition near Kunduz. According to the Northern Alliance command, the Chechen gunmen, as well as other foreign mercenaries, are noted for their cruelty to prisoners-of-war and ability to resist without consideration of their losses. The Chechens arriving in Afghanistan are trained at bin Ladin's bases, for instance, the Khafash (Bat) base which permanently changes its location, and the general combat training camp Baar-1 near Khost (south-eastern part of Afghanistan), according to RIA Novosti sources. They noted that, after the launch of the anti-terrorist operation in Afghanistan, Aslan Maskhadov, a Chechen separatist leader, and his entourage were trying to "shift the accent" in their relations with the countries providing them with financial and material aid. Maskhadov, defying the facts, is eager to prove to the US and other Western countries that he has had contacts with bin Ladin and the Al-Qaeda.

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