The violence never stops in Russia's North Caucasus republic of Dagestan. Here, in this mountainous republic of Russia, federal forces are fighting an increasingly brutal battle against a growing and determined Islamic insurgency. As Anna Nemtsova writes in FP, "In recent years, the region has been the scene of a vicious cycle of violence and repression: police and special forces have arrested thousands of young Salfists throughout the North Caucasus republics, which in turn has driven more young men -- and increasingly women -- to various jihadist groups that aim to establish an Islamic state encompassing the entire North Caucasus." But, away from the headlines, the conflict is taking its toll on ordinary people and families.
Every month sees new killings and abductions. Often, family members claim their loved ones have no links to the militants, and it is frequently unclear what crimes, if any, they are being so severely punished for. There is a seeming randomness about the extrajudicial killings, as if a stray word here, or a rumor there, is enough to invite a visit by shadowy men in camouflage. Here's a look at the toll of the region's spiraling violence.
Above, Dzhenet Achalimova, 25, stands with her two children in her bedroom. Achalimova claims that her husband, Magomed Nasibov, 31, along with his cousin of the same name, Magomed Nasibov, 21, were abducted and killed near the tiny village of Kirov-al-ul by men in camouflage. The violence and abductions in the region are unseen by most Russians, who have little contact with the restive region. "To most Russians, the scene would probably look more like Syria or Libya than their own country. State television rarely broadcasts images or even official comments about the increasing human rights abuses by federal security service or police in Dagestan," reports Nemtsova.