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U.S. Confronts "Terror" in Georgia's Pankisi Gorge

NCJ Number
Jane's Terrorism & Security Monitor Dated: March 2002 Pages: 1-3
Afzal Khan
Date Published
March 2002
3 pages
This article reviewed the United States campaign against terrorism through its expansion into the southern borders of Russia, Georgia’s Pankisi Gorge providing support to the Georgian government in restoring order to the Pankisi Gorge.
In an attempt to aid the Georgian government in bringing the lawless Pankisi Gorge back under the control of the central government, the United States, in 2002, made a decision to deploy military advisors to Georgia or the borders of southern Russia. The Pankisi was considered a land full of terrorists. Reports were released that members of the Taliban and Al-Qaeda were in the Pankisi Gorge, as well as some Arabs and Afghans who had fought in Chechnya. Receiving this information, the United States agreed to provide military assistance to improve the antiterrorism capabilities of the Georgian army. In addition, Russian military officials believed that the Pankisi Gorge could become a home for militant Islam similar to those in Chechnya and Afghanistan. This article reviewed the role played by the United States in their intervention in Georgia’s attempts to regain government stability in the Pankisi Gorge. The article discussed the uphill battle the United States faces in preparing the Georgian Army, plagued by antiquated Soviet equipment and a shortage of training funds. It also discussed how the U.S. military presence in Georgia increases the tensions between Georgia and Russia. Georgia continues to use the U.S. war on terrorism to enhance its military capabilities at the expense of Russia that in turn pulls the United States closer to the conflict facing Russia in Chechnya.