Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 3 Issue: 8

In the course of an article entitled, “Where Are the Imprisoned Chechens?,” which contested reports appearing in the Russian and Western media that there are Chechens fighting against the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan, journalist Yury Kovalenko asked: “How has it happened that among the several thousand foreign fighters taken into prison in Afghanistan, not a single Chechen has been discovered? There are likewise none among the 500 prisoners in the hands of the Americans, including those interned at the Cuban base at Guantanamo…Not one Chechen has been found among the 3,000 fighters imprisoned in the dungeon of Shibirgan, which is next to Mazari-Sharif, whose numbers include many Arabs, Pakistanis and even several French, British and Australian citizens. Maskhadov’s emissary Akhmed Zakaev maintained at the January session of PACE in Strasbourg that Chechens in general had not fought in the guard of bin Laden: In Zakaev’s words, neither the Americans nor the Northern Alliance could demonstrate a single captured Chechen” (Novye Izvestia, March 5).