In 2002, during the second Chechen war, an ethnic group of Pankisi Kists in Georgia accepted 85% of all refugees from Chechnya. Camouflaged by snow, they followed cattle tracks across the Argun Canyon. In February 2002, US charge d’affaires in Tbilisi, Philip Remler, claimed that Taliban insurgents on the move from Afghanistan were fleeing into Pankisi. The claim coincided with an international scandal when several hundred Chechen rebels were deployed to the Khodori Gorge to fight for Georgia in the Georgian-Abkhazian war. Led by Ruslan Gelayev, the rebels were under the protection of the Georgian ministry of defense when they shot down a United Nations mission helicopter. In an attempt to fend off mounting criticism, Georgia soon joined the United States in their "War on Terror". By the end of 2003, Georgian police had caught a dozen of alleged Islamic militants. Pankisi responded by kidnapping two Georgian policemen and storing them in a cellar with preserves and compote. In 2012, approximately 200 Wahhabists in Pankisi had permanently settled in the region with their families. All describe themselves as peaceful, but only up to a point, until attacked.