Pankisi Gorge

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Coordinates: 42°07′N 45°16′E / 42.117°N 45.267°E / 42.117; 45.267 The Pankisi Gorge (Georgian: პანკისის ხეობა, Pankisis Kheoba) or Pankisi (პანკისი) is a valley region in Georgia, in the northeastern corner of the country, bordering the Chechnyan republic of the Russian Federation. Administratively, it is included in the Akhmeta district of the Kakheti region. An ethnic group called Kists of Chechen roots form the majority (75%) in the area.

It had allegedly often been used as a base for transit, training and shipments of arms and financing by Chechen rebels and Islamic militants, including Al Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan, many of whom followed Ruslan Gelayev.[1] Most of these accusations were around 2002, but others allege that it is more peaceful now[2], although there are still many Chechen refugees living there.[3]

Russia has attempted to attack the Chechen militants in the gorge. Georgia has also accused Russia of carrying out bombing raids in the gorge region in which at least one Georgian civilian was believed to have perished. (no ref.)

Landmine Monitor warns of antipersonnel mines being laid in the Gorge. A number of casualties have resulted in landmines still being encountered in the Gorge.[4][5]

Georgian operations in the Pankisi Gorge are still ongoing.


  • Shorena Kurtsikidze & Vakhtang Chikovani, Ethnography and Folklore of the Georgia-Chechnya Border: Images, Customs, Myths & Folk Tales of the Peripheries, Munich: Lincom Europa, 2008.

External links

  • Shorena Kurtsikidze and Vakhtang Chikovani, Georgia's Pankisi Gorge: An Ethnographic Survey, Berkeley Program in Soviet and Post-Soviet Studies,University of California, Berkeley, Spring 2002.(

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