Think of conflict in the North Caucasus, and most people would think of Chechnya. But it’s the neighbouring Russian republic of Dagestan which, today, is the epicentre of violence in the region; violence which officials now admit is a war.
Dagestan lies between the Caucasus mountains and the Caspian sea. There are almost daily clashes here between police and militants fighting to turn the Caucasus into an Islamic state.
In the last couple of months, 200 people have been killed; there have been suicide bombings, kidnappings, assassinations and the authorities have carried out thousands of anti terror operations in an attempt to put down the fundementalist insurgency.
Russia says the rebels have links to Al-Qaeda and have undergone training in ‘Taliban camps’ in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
For Assignment Steve Rosenberg travels to Dagestan to try to find out what is fuelling the conflict.
Is it simply religion? Or is it poverty, corruption and police brutality which explain why people are taking up arms against the state?
BBC World Service, 9:05am Thu, 18 Nov 2010
Duration 25 minutes