Haqqani Network releases video of training camps

The Haqqani Network has released footage of its fighters going though training at a camp situated along the Afghan-Pakistan border. The video provides an interesting and previously unseen look at the Haqqani Network’s training of its recruits.

The footage of Haqqani Network fighters being trained was included in an approximately 69-minute-long video commemorating the team that assaulted the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on June 28, 2011. Afghan intelligence traced the attack via an intercepted phone conversation to Badruddin Haqqani, an operational commander in the Haqqani Network who also sits on the Taliban’s Miramshah Shura and is a son of Jalaluddin Haqqani, the patriarch of the al Qaeda-linked network. During the attack, Badruddin was in communication with the suicide assault team and was directing the attack from Pakistan.

The video was released by Manba al-Jihad, “a media unit of the Haqqani Network within the Afghan Taliban,” according to the SITE Intelligence Group, which obtained a copy of the video. The video was released on jihadist Internet forums on Nov. 11 and was also published in segments on a Taliban-linked YouTube site and linked at the Taliban’s website, Voice of Jihad. YouTube has since removed some of the segments.

“The jihadi studio of Manba’ al-Jihad, in the Audio and Video Department of the Media Committee of the Islamic Emirate, published a video titled, ‘The Army of Badr, 1’, which regards the martyrdom-seeking operation at the special conference convened in the Continental Hotel in the city of Kabul,” according to a statement that accompanied the release of the video on a jihadist web forum. “The video published hot and attractive shots of the training, wills, and the operations of the mujahideen who participated in this martyrdom-seeking operation.”

Although the location of the Haqqani Network camp was not disclosed, a US intelligence official told The Long War Journal that it is located in Pakistan’s Taliban-controlled tribal agency of North Waziristan, and not in Afghanistan. The camp shown in the video is in a mountainous area. The Haqqani Network is known to operate training camps on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistan border.

In the video, a platoon-sized group of about 40 fighters is seen standing in formation. The men are wearing camouflage uniforms, dark green masks, and helmets. The white flag of the Taliban is flying in several different scenes.

The video shows Haqqani Network fighters navigating a series of obstacles while instructors fire AK-47 rounds into the ground. The trainees also appear low-crawling, climbing a makeshift ladder, jumping off of a ramp, and jumping over a burning pit.

Instructors are drilling the fighters on dismounted operations from a pickup truck and a motorcycle, and on an ambush on a column. The fighters are also given a briefing on various US strike aircraft and attack helicopters, and instruction on firing anti-aircraft machine-guns.

The video documents ways in which the instructors put the Haqqani Network fighters through weapons training. The fighters are shown firing pistols and AK-47 assault rifles from various positions. They are seen firing rocket-propelled grenades, a recoilless rifle, a belt-fed machinegun, and mortars, and the video also shows them throwing hand grenades at a makeshift range. In addition, they practice carrying wounded fighters.

Interestingly, the video emerges at about the same time as 10,000 copies of a 144-page field manual written by the Haqqani Network have been distributed in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The manual is “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,” according to Newsweek. “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.”

The manual, which is published by “Khalifa Sirajuddin Haqqani,” the operational commander of the Haqqani Network, justifies the use of suicide bombers, praises al Qaeda, and offers tips on how to wage jihad in Western nations.

“Blend in, shave, wear Western dress, be patient,” and leave behind material that might lead authorities to suspect you are a jihadist, the manual states, according to Newsweek. “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.”

The manual also provides information on a variety of firearms and explosives, and gives advice on the use of such weapons.

The Haqqani Network, which operates in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, is linked to both al Qaeda and the Pakistani military and Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate. The Haqqani Network supports and shelters a constellation of regional and international terror group groups in North Waziristan, and fights NATO and Afghan forces across the border [for more information on the Haqqani Network, see LWJ report, US adds senior Haqqani Network leader to terrorist list].

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • adam says:

    i have to admit, when I saw them marching, I cracked up. I know its supposed to show us that they don’t need any equipment or special bases to get by and stuff, but that marching scene was just so funny. I mean, they don’t even stand at attention. Hell, half of that stuff is what phase 1 Marine Corps recruits do for a warm up.

  • Dan says:

    Nuclear weapons.

  • g says:

    Hilarious. This looks like the obstacle course a special forces guy would set up for his 2 yr old and his playmates.
    Did they really jump right through that fire? Fearless.

  • Scott says:

    Yeah that marching is funny. They should set the entire clip to the theme song from Benny Hill. Now that would be funny!!

  • jean says:

    I often wondered what happened to the old obstacle course stuff from Sand Hill.
    On a sober note that looks like old ANA or Border Police gear . The helmets look new- probably stuff hijacked or stolen in transit.

  • Graham says:

    They look like the ANA except with balaclavas! And just what the hell are they doing at 2:35??

  • Daryl says:

    Faceless cowards with no real military bearing. Nothing but useless hacks. But that’s just my opinion.

  • J House says:

    The interesting thing about the video is how much it resembles an AQ video released years ago. Same camera angle perspectives, same editing, same drills. Let’s hope they continue to use smoke in their exercises…makes it that much easier for a Reaper team to find and rain Hellfire on them.

  • Robert says:

    Most of the stuff is seems to be just a dog and pony show and kind of silly at that.

  • Charles says:

    So we learn that the Haqqanis are all in unlike some of the other groups which are prone to grumbling.

    What we don’t know is why the Haqqanis are all in.

  • Ken North says:

    I have studied these training films fairly aggressively over the years with a view towards training US law enforcement officers on AQAM capabilities. This is the first film I’ve seen that appeared to emphasize basic handgun fundamentals. Not Gunsite training by any means, but at least a step beyond their typical “Charlie’s Angels” techniques.
    It would be informative to have a thoughtful comparison done between the tactics embraced in the original AQ manual that surfaced in England some years ago and the current Haqqani version. OPSEC seems to be a recurring theme in both editions. Perhaps West Point’s CTC could give that some thought.
    It will also be noteworthy when the recent Haqqani version makes its English-language debut for western consumption. Probably not in “Insight” in the near future.

  • Graham says:

    So, do they actually wear those helmets and uniforms in combat? In all the footage I’ve seen of Taliban and insurgents I’ve never seen them this…uniformed before.

  • Rosario says:

    The display of all these weapons, complete with uniforms, helmets ect and a training rubric suggest a state sponsor.

  • james says:

    Most of those guys will be dead by years end.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    J House, I was waiting for your comment. Nice catch, and you nailed my sentiments exactly. As I watched the video, I could see the classic AQ training video in my head. Didn’t put any of this in the report as it really isn’t my place to insert my opinion there.

  • m3fd2002 says:

    Those dudes are not “faceless cowards”. Given the choice of a teenager Pashtun, to sit around, unemployed, no prospects for advancement, ignorant, and an Imam preaching immortality. Most of us in the same situation would opt for jihad.They will resist, always. Brutal fact. It’s not worth the losses anyone is incuring in this far away theater. This campaign will end for our troops, declare victory and withdrawal at a reasonable pace. Arm the northern alliance, arm the azeris and other minorities in Iran, and process this campaign through covert means. No one wants a foreigner patrolling their streets. NO ONE. Get over this Nation Building Thesis. We need to pull our assets (Troops) closer to our borders and worry about our theater of operations. Let the Saudi’s, Chinese, Indians, Pakistani’s on their own. They are a lost cause.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    This is a joke, My basic Marine Corps training at Paris, was about 10x harder then this and my Force Recon and our Marine Special Operations Regiment (MSOR) training was about 30-40x harder…this is just basic stuff that might keep you alive a few extra minutes before one of our soldiers puts several bullets into your chest and skull. And god forbid one of these guys is facing a Spec Ops team or a Tier one unit.
    PS. It looks like Badruddin Haqqani needs to be high up on our target list for a Tier 1 Spec Ops or a Reaper visit, and I don’t care if we have to go into Pakistan again to do it.

  • jayc says:

    The trainer at 4:00 reminds me of Omar Hammami (Abu Mansoor Al-Amriki). I realize that he was known for fighting alongside Al-Shabaab, but the trainers mannerisms and his persona I viewed from another clip made me think it was him. Probably his cousin…

  • Jeremiah says:

    That marching scene is indeed ridiculous. What is the point of marching if it isn’t in step? Or jumping over the fire pit, or shooting an AK as they did it? I have to admit though, their helmets are pretty adorable. Will make good souvenirs for the American soldiers who kill them. Plus their flags are white, probably in anticipation of their surrender.

  • Eddo says:

    For the marching scene someone should dub in Full Metal Jacket where they were singing cadence of the Mickey Mouse Club. That recoilless rifle, was that a Carl Gustav? Did anyone else notice the AGS-17 was rocking back because they didn’t sandbag or stake it down like they were supposed to. As for the “camo job” yeah we won’t see that coming. Private: Sergeant the bushes are moving again. Sergeant: Well then shoot’em.

  • Reader says:

    Funny YEAH! 1758 DEAD AMERICANS! http://icasualties.org/oef/ByTheatre.aspx
    Read each DEAD Americans NAME! FUNNY!
    Funny DEADLY!
    http://icasualties.org/oef/ – All the FUNNY thats Fit to Print.
    ‘Respect’ The Enemy…no matter ‘How Unlike YOU he is’ OR Become Complacent.
    Bill, Time to ‘Police’ the Yahoo types. Please!

  • gwb says:

    How many took leg wounds from the guy with the AK firing at or near their feet? Not close to true American military standards.

  • Barry Larking says:

    Looked amateurish, but not much less so than scenes of the A.N.A. in training I have seen in news reports. Some of the weapons training looked distinctly dangerous. I wonder how many recruits find ‘martyrdom’ before they finish the course? Yet, putting that to one side, this video shows how enthusiastic they are, committed and ready to die. It would be dangerous to underestimate them. I am sure I.S.A.F. higher command do not.

  • mike merlo says:

    If anybody should be concerned it’s the Pakistani military. The heavier weapons rarely leave Pakistan if at all.

  • Devin Leonard says:

    This is a joke. My basic Marine Corps boot camp at parris was 10x harder then this, and my Force Recon and my Marine Special Operations Regiment training (MSOR) was about 30-40x harder. These guys are doing the basics to ensure that they don’t get killed TOO fast by our guys, but they will get killed eventually. Especially if they are up against a Spec Ops or Tier 1 unit. The Haqqanni’s are dead men walking, and so is thier leadership in Pakistan…ISI or no ISI.

  • buckaroo jeffaroo says:

    the best part was the white high tops half of the clowns were wearing. I guess they couldnt afford nice boots for all of the troops since they’ve been allocating money for glossy manuals.

  • mike merlo says:

    re:1758 KIA
    While no death is a ‘yahoo matter’ especially if its one of your own but at apprx 3.3 kia’s per week Afghanistan is helluva alot safer than many places in the US. However one chooses to measure ‘it’ the US forces are shelling out demonstratably more than their taking besides many military people follow this site & I’m sure they appreciate some chutzpah.

  • James says:

    Youtube… A Google Company

  • ross lauria says:

    1758 kia; def not a laughing matter but more were lost in chicago during ths time frame plus were not sending over innocent people to kill innocent people, these men that have more sack than you and I, signed up for this, so thank them and honour them! I am retired Air Force chemical decon, these marines and army women and men are my heroes.

  • mike says:

    Few Observations:
    1)Their marching reminds me of the marching I did in Kindergarten except we 5 year olds moved better and had more discipline.
    2)Their so called Ghillie suits are truly laughable reminds me of bulbasaur from pokemon.
    3)The time it took them to fire a single shot from a pistol in that an SAS soldier would fire double taps in three of their lousy rebels.
    4)Check out the stud lobbing the grenade at 3:40 had he turned 10 degrees more towards his left he would have completed his wish named as”journey to the 72 virgins”
    5)I have seen 8 year olds fire rifles better than this lot fired their kalashnikov’s.Looks like they leave their accuracy to allah.
    6)The fire pit jump was like a no fire jump cause the fire was totally in the pit.
    7)Looks like pakistani’s are using US aid well in giving their friends the haqqani’s new toys.
    8)The music sucks to the core but wait isnt music against paedophile muhammad’s koran and his wishes.

  • Bollywood productions says:

    This was like basic for terrorists. What gives with the D&C? Lets shame the mullahs to put proper focus on not marching like monkeys. No offense to monkeys but these guys had no rhythm. These must be straight out of England Pakis. They do learn fast though.

  • TLA says:

    Looks like it’s training a Pirbright (with all that marching). You can tell from this I don’t think much of the Foot Guards. Their bush impressions look a bit comical to start off with. But their ‘I’m gonna stick a shrub on my head’ tactic works well enough with the other shrubbery (a bit like the Knights of Ni did).

  • Bob says:

    Just a thought, could this be used as reverse propaganda, potentially luring ISAF soliders into a false sense of vast superiority?
    We know that the jihadists view this site. If I was terrorist leader X, I would want the enemy to think my army is a ragtag group of peasants, not an efficient fighting force. The intro reminded me of Borat, the marching was pitiful, military bearing unthinkable, and the motor cycle-AK47 combo would make American gangsters laugh. The more I think of it, the more this is made not to intimidate or recruit, but to psychologically attack the sub conscious of the ISAF. I showed this video to my colleagues and we all had a good laugh, followed by intense ridicule… which I suspect is the deceptive goal.
    The reason I bring this up is clearly the upper echelon of the Haqqani network or any other terrorist affiliate are intelligent enough to produce and distribute these videos. I find it hard to believe that they then think these videos would be encouragement to potential jihadists fighting against the takfiris. If I was a down trodden Pakistani youth that was upset with foreigners next door, this is NOT the kind of resistance army I would want to join. Then again, I am not a down trodden Pakistani youth.

  • F says:

    I’m not too worried about the marching or obstacle course – no recent wars have been decided on a parade square or by steeple chase. What’s interesting is what they are NOT doing. No comms, so no adjusting the mortar or AGS in the indirect role, and no complex operations (ie raid an outpost in order to lure a QRF into an anti-armour ambush, or Apaches into an anti-helo ambush – if they get decent at that it could be a nightmare, and would be a great job for a suicide fighter). No scopes or night vision equipment, so very basic night ops. They’re still short on some of the basics (like staking in the AGS as mentioned above, and in things like range cards).
    What I see is preparing soldiers to conduct small team raids on vulnerable targets (assassinations, civilian installations), or preparing to raid remote military targets which lack night vision capability (like Pakistan Frontier Corps) – under which circumstances that skrim would probably suffice. Remember, if the target is the Frontier Corps, who are probably fourth rate soldiers, these guys only need to get to third rate level.
    @Eddo – those RRs aren’t Carl G’s. I think they’re Chinese Type 65/78.

  • giri K says:

    All deaths are deaths even if marching is funny …it is time to clean out Paki- satan and ISI – Al Queda brigade.

  • rk says:

    I’m digging the military fatigues/tennis sneaker look.

  • Mr T says:

    These guys are cannon fodder for their leaders. They aren’t going to spend a lot of time and money training them to go and die.
    Hence, the amatuer video.

  • Ed Miller says:

    I think they should focus on getting all their “fighters” clad in real shoes, not those chump shower shoes worthy of a county jail…


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