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Militants from Chechnya and other restive regions in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus have targeted Moscow and other areas with bombings and hostage-takings, but the allegations of involvement in the Boston Marathon explosions would mark the first time they had conducted a terror attack in the West.
The conflict in Chechnya began in 1994 as a separatist war, but quickly morphed into an Islamic insurgency whose adepts vow to carve out an independent Islamic state in the Caucasus.
Russian troops withdrew from Chechnya in 1996 after the first Chechen war, leaving it de-facto independent and largely lawless, but then rolled back three years later following apartment building explosions in Moscow and other cities blamed on the rebels.
Militants from Chechnya and neighboring provinces have launched a long series of terror attacks in Russia.In recent years, militants in Chechnya, Dagestan and other neighbouring provinces have largely refrained from attacks outside the Caucasus.
The allegations of the Caucasus men’s role in the Boston’s explosions would reinforce long-held claims by Russian officials that insurgents in the Caucasus have been linked to al-Qaida.