Russia’s Bitter Harvest of Female Bombers

It’s high time we take care of the garden, the mother remembers Mariyam Sharipova saying that Friday. Let’s plant raspberries, cucumbers, greens. And we have to do something about the kitchen, maybe get some pretty new dishes.

By evening, the young woman had vanished from the house in this remote mountain village in the Russian republic of Dagestan. Magomedova didn’t see her daughter’s face again until somebody showed her a photograph of a severed head. At that moment, she said, "I knew there was no mistake."

Sharipova, 27, had traveled a thousand miles to Moscow and climbed onto a crowded subway train at rush hour with an explosives-packed belt strapped around her waist. She was accompanied by a 17-year-old girl, also from Dagestan, who blew herself up at another station.

In the Russian news media, the women were immediately dubbed "black widows." Their assault on the subway was taken as proof that the country had been shuttled back to the fearsome days when hollow-eyed female militants stalked Moscow and other cities far from the wars where their men fought Russian forces.
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