Newsweek reports that the Haqqani Network has recently distributed 10,000 copies of a 144-page book that serves as a field manual and “manifesto.” From the Newsweek report:
Haqqani’s book is an entirely different matter: a call not to reflection but to violent action. In the past month, 10,000 copies of the 144-page book are said to have been printed for distribution in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Printed on high-quality paper, with black-and-white photos and solidly bound, the manual for guerrillas and terrorists opens with directions for how to set up a jihadi cell, how to obtain financing, how to recruit members, and how to train them. It suggests that training camps be situated far from villages, either in high mountains or the jungle, and that they be designed with multiple, hidden access routes. It recommends assigning two qualified instructors to each class of 10 to 15 students. Each student should have his own code name, the book says, and the trainers should remain anonymous.
The qualifications for jihadi recruits are laid out, together with the rules they should follow. Young men need not ask their parents’ permission to join the jihad if the war is being waged in their homeland, the book says. They should know the Holy Quran, believe fervently in the jihad, and pay off their debts before signing up, in case they are killed in action. They should love their weapons, be ready to fight to the death against their enemies, and refrain from grieving when their comrades in arms are injured or killed. Actually, the book’s standards for recruits can be tougher than those for the men who lead them. It explicitly states that men of immoral character may serve as commanders in the jihad as long as they’re committed to the war against the West.
The use of suicide bombers is not prohibited by Islam, the book contends. In fact, it claims, there are many verses in the Islamic scriptures that justify suicide bombings. That dubious interpretation is useful for both the Haqqanis and the mainstream Taliban, who have come to rely on suicide bombs as their weapons of choice. The book asserts that volunteering to become a suicide bomber demonstrates “good character,” and anyone who does so “is favored by Almighty Allah.” The beheading of infidels, traitors, and spies is also approved in Islam, the book says: “The easy way to kill infidels and their spies is beheading. The human breath is quickly discharged from the body, and [beheading] has a psychologically terrifying affect on our enemies.”
The book gives special praise to Al Qaeda as a small Muslim group that “terrifies” its enemies. Aspiring jihadists should emulate the group’s ability to “stay and live among people who are against our faith and ideology, like those militants operating in Europe and the U.S.,” the book urges: “Blend in, shave, wear Western dress, be patient.” Terrorists are advised to travel on tourist, student, or business visas, and to avert suspicion by not appearing devout–leave home your Islamic CDs, Qurans, and military instruction manuals, the book says. As for targets, it advises, “You should attack the enemy’s weaker points, such as economic targets like the World Trade Center and diplomatic targets like the U.S. embassies in Africa.”
It remains to be seen how many international jihadists will find the book useful. Its audience is effectively limited to readers from the Taliban’s home territories, since it’s written entirely in the Pashto language. But it’s likely to be a big success among aspiring insurgents in Afghanistan and in Pakistan’s tribal areas. Much of the book is devoted to the best methods for killing people and destroying targets. It describes all sorts of deadly weapons–Russian-made Makarov pistols, Kalashnikov and M16 automatic rifles, the Dragunov sniper rifle, the PK machine gun, the DShK antiaircraft gun, and Chinese hand grenades, among other weapons. And it ends with a detailed treatise on making and using explosive devices. It discusses military-grade dynamite, C-4, TNT, RDX, and ammonium nitrate fertilizer, explains the fine points of blowing up cellphone towers and electrical pylons, gives detailed instructions of sabotaging railroad tracks, bridges, and even large buildings, and offers safety tips for remote-controlled IEDs.
The back page names the book’s publisher–Khalifa Sirajuddin Haqqani–and gives a warning: “The selling and displaying of this book in public is prohibited.” But clearly it’s meant to be distributed as widely as possible. And unlike the Quetta Shura’s letter on rethinking the Taliban’s mistakes, it’s likely to be put to use many times before the last U.S. troops go home.
Keep in mind that the Haqqani Network has supported al Qaeda for decades. A recent Combating Terrorism Center study titled “The Haqqani Nexus and the Evolution of al-Qa’ida” details the network’s longstanding ties with and support for al Qaeda. For those still holding out hope that the Haqqanis are willing to negotiate a settlement, the Newsweek report and the CTC study should dispel any such illusions.
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