Boston Bomb Trail Leads Into Heart of Putin’s Own War on Terror
Six blocks from the Caspian Sea, on Kotrova Street in central Makhachkala, sits a mosque being watched by undercover Russian agents charged with preventing acts of terror.
As worshipers spill out into the streets, American investigators are watching now, too, as they try to reconstruct the events that led to the most high-profile terrorist assault in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.
It’s here that Tamerlan Tsarnaev, the man U.S. authorities say masterminded the Boston Marathon bombings, went to worship during a six-month trip to Dagestan last year, according to his father. Since President Vladimir Putin tamed Tsarnaev’s ancestral homeland Chechnya, where federal forces fought two wars against Islamic militants, neighboring Dagestan has emerged as the center of separatist violence on the Russian side of the Caucasus Mountains.
“We know there were militants who started their path to Islam at this mosque,” Rezvan Kurbanov, a former deputy premier of Dagestan who oversaw security in the region in 2010 and 2011, said in an interview in Moscow. “We’ve had our eye on this mosque for a long time.”