Until quite recently Nalchik, Kabardino-Balkaria’s capital, was considered the most secure city in the Northern Caucasus. The 13 October 2005 assault on Nalchik could be considered an attempt by Shamil Basayev to create an atmosphere of unease throughout the entire Northern Caucasus. However, there are signs that the assault was a symptom of more pervasive problems in the region unrelated to the Chechen separatist movement. First, the majority of the foot soldiers in the assault were Kabartay, many of them local youths, implying a robust recruitment industry in the republic. Second, it appears as though the majority of the assailants escaped capture indicating at least some support among local residents.