The Forbidden Valley


Georgia's special troops will get U.S. expertise to tackle its enemy within

Just beyond the last checkpoint, where Georgian Interior Forces yet again register visitors, a black BMW waited on the beat-up road. It belonged to Aslanbek, a self-described Chechen refugee and representative of the inhabitants of Duisi, the largest village in the Pankisi Gorge, a remote Georgian valley that hit the headlines in February after the U.S. announced it was an al-Qaeda base area.

"Welcome to Duisi," he said, asking two journalists the purpose of their visit. To discover why Washington was so worried about the Gorge, we answered delicately. "No one here will answer that question," he...

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