Name[ edit ] The unit has been known by several names throughout its existence. Although the overwhelming majority of the unit has always consisted of Arab volunteers, there was members of non-Arab most notably Kurdish and some trace their ancestry to the Caucasus. After the collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent Chechen declaration of independence, foreign fighters started entering the region and associated themselves with Chechen rebels, most notably Shamil Basayev with whom Khattab build up a friendship. Many of them were veterans of the Soviet—Afghan War and prior to the Russian invasion, they used their expertise to train the Chechen separatists. During the First Chechen War they were notorious and feared for their guerilla tactics , inflicting severe casualties on the badly prepared Russian forces. After the withdrawal of Russian forces from Chechnya most of the mujahideen decided to remain in the country, including Khattab who married a woman from Dagestan.
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With the outbreak of war, Dudayev made Basayev one of the front-line commanders. Basayev took an active role in the resistance, successfully commanding his "Abkhaz Battalion. At this time, Basayev also suffered a personal tragedy. In an attempt to force a stop to the Russian advance, some Chechen forces resorted to a series of terrorist attacks directed against civilian targets outside the area that they claimed. Basayev led the most famous such attack, the Budyonnovsk hospital hostage crisis on 14 June , less than two weeks after he lost his family in the air raids.
At least civilians died and were wounded during the crisis as the Russian special forces repeatedly attempted to free the hostages by force. Although Basayev failed in his principal demand for the removal of Russian forces from Chechnya, he did successfully negotiate a stop to the Russian advance and an initiation of peace talks with the Russian government, saving the Chechen resistance by giving them time to regroup and recover. Basayev and his fighters then returned to Chechnya under cover of the human shields.
On 23 November, Basayev announced on the Russian NTV television channel, that four cases of radioactive material had been hidden around Moscow. Russian emergency teams roamed the city with Geiger counters, and located several canisters of Caesium , which had been stolen from the Budennovsk hospital by the Chechen militants.
The incident has been called "the most important sub-state use of radiological material. In July he was implicated in the death of the rogue Chechen warlord Ruslan Labazanov. A peace agreement was concluded between the Chechens and Russians, under which the Chechens acquired de facto independence from Russia.
Basayev came in second place to Aslan Maskhadov , obtaining Allegedly Basayev found the defeat very painful. In early he was appointed vice-Prime Minister of Chechnya by Maskhadov. In January he became the acting head of the Chechen government for a six-month term, after which he resigned.
Maskhadov worked with Basayev until , when Basayev established a network of military officers, who soon became rival warlords. By early Basayev emerged as the main political opponent of the Chechen president, who in his opinion was "pushing the republic back to the Russian Federation. During these years he wrote Book of a Mujahiddeen, an Islamic guerilla manual.
Berezovsky asserted that he refused the offer, but "Udugov and Basayev conspired with Stepashin and Putin to provoke a war to topple Maskhadov However, Putin double-crossed the Chechens and started an all-out war. Researcher Henry Plater-Zyberk has described Litvinenko as "a one man disinformation bureau" who was hungry for attention and provided little, if any, evidence for his claims.
By the end of the month, Russian forces had managed to repel the invasion. In early September, a series of bombings of Russian apartment blocks took place, killing people. The attacks were blamed on terrorists with Chechen links. Although Basayev and Khattab denied responsibility, the Russian government blamed the Chechen government for allowing Basayev to use Chechnya as a base.
Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov denied any involvement in the attacks, and offered a crackdown on the renegade warlords, which Russia refused. Commenting on the attacks, Shamil Basayev said: "The latest blast in Moscow is not our work, but the work of the Dagestanis. Russia has been openly terrorizing Dagestan, it encircled three villages in the centre of Dagestan, did not allow women and children to leave.
In the process, he also significantly modified the very nature of Islam in Chechnya and Northern Caucasus, from a traditional mix of syncretism and Sufism into one strongly influenced by Wahhabism and Salafism—especially among the youth. With Wahhabism came expansionism. His threats of " kamikaze " attacks in Russia were widely dismissed as a bluff. Despite this injury, Basayev eluded Russian capture together with other rebels by hiding in forests and mountains.
He welcomed assistance from foreign fighters from Afghanistan and other Islamic countries, encouraging them to join the Chechen cause. He also ordered the execution of nine Russian OMON prisoners on April 4, ; the men were killed because the Russians had refused to swap them for Yuri Budanov , an arrested army officer accused of raping and killing an year-old Chechen girl.
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In December, Basayev married his third wife. Among his wedding presents were reportedly three Russian POWs. In August, Basayev commanded a large-scale raid on the Vedensky District.
A deputy commander of Russian forces in Chechnya claimed Basayev was wounded in a firefight. Around November 2, , Basayev claimed on a rebel website that he was responsible for the Moscow theater hostage crisis although the siege was led by Movsar Barayev in which 50 Chechen rebels held about people hostage; Russian forces later stormed the building using gas, killing the rebels and more than hostages.
He defended the operation but asked Maskhadov for forgiveness for not informing him of it. Basayev claimed responsibility, published the video of the attack, and said he personally triggered the bombs by remote control. Two days later a woman got within six feet of Akhmad Kadyrov , the head of the Moscow-appointed Chechen administration, and blew herself up killing herself and 14 people; Kadyrov was unhurt.
Basayev claimed responsibility for both attacks; Maskhadov denounced them. Basayev escaped, killing a local police official. In late , Basayev claimed responsibility for terrorist bombings in both Moscow and Yessentuki in Stavropol Krai. He said both attacks were carried out by the group operating under his command. That explosion killed at least six people and wounded nearly 60, including the top Russian military commander in Chechnya, who lost his leg; Basayev called it a "small but important victory".
Basayev was accused of commanding the June 21 raid on Nazran in the Russian republic of Ingushetia. In fact, he was shown in a video made of the raid, in which he led a large group of militants. The Ministry building was burned down. In September Basayev claimed responsibility for the Beslan school siege in which over people, most of them children, were killed and hundreds more injured. On September 17, , Basayev issued a statement claiming responsibility for the school siege, saying his Riyadus-Salihiin "Martyr Battalion" had carried out this and other attacks.
In his message, Basayev described the Beslan massacre as a "terrible tragedy" and blamed it on Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Arab Mujahideen in Chechnya
Starting as a field commander in the Transcaucasus, Basayev led guerrilla campaigns against Russian forces for years, as well as launching mass-hostage takings of civilians, with his goal being the withdrawal of Russian soldiers from Chechnya. Basayev was considered by some to be the undisputed leader of the radical wing of the Chechen insurgency. He was responsible for numerous guerrilla attacks on security forces in and around Chechnya as well as terrorist attacks on civilians, most Chechen militant Islamist and a leader of the Chechen rebel movement. He was responsible for numerous guerrilla attacks on security forces in and around Chechnya as well as terrorist attacks on civilians, most notoriously the attack on a school in Beslan, located in North Ossetia, which led to the deaths of more than people, most of them children and the Moscow theater hostage crisis. ABC News described him as "one of the most-wanted terrorists in the world". Basayev was killed by an explosion on July 10, Controversy still surrounds who is responsible for his death, with Russians claiming he was killed in a assassination by the FSB, Chechens claiming he died in an accidental explosion, and other sources claiming a rival insurgent group killed him.
Learn how and when to remove this template message Shamil Basayev was born in the village of Dyshne-Vedeno, near Vedeno , in south-eastern Chechnya , in  to Chechen parents from the Benoy teip. According to Gennady Troshev , he has some distant Russian ancestry. His family is said to have had a long history of involvement in Chechen resistance to Russian rule. His grandfather fought for the abortive attempt to create a breakaway North Caucasian Emirate after the Russian Revolution. They were only allowed to return when the deportation order was lifted by Nikita Khrushchev in Basayev, an avid football player, graduated from school in Dyshne-Vedeno in , aged 17, and spent the next two years in the Soviet military serving as a firefighter.