Title card of the Salahadin Ayyubi camp
In a video released almost two weeks ago that included a speech from Siraj Haqqani and several advertisements of the Taliban’s relationship with al Qaeda, the Taliban also showcased a training camp that is run by the Haqqani Network
The Salahadin Ayyubi camp, which is named after the famous Muslim commander in the Crusades, is highlighted within the lengthy “Army of Badr” video. A little over halfway into the 95-minute release, the camp is shown in a heavily stylized fashion. Fighters are shown undergoing various physical training exercises before partaking in weapons drills. The weapons used include AK-47 assault rifles, rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s), SPG-9 recoilless rifles, and various rocket systems.
The location of the camp was not disclosed, however, it is likely in eastern Afghanistan where the Haqqanis are known to operate, or in North Waziristan, Pakistan, where the network also maintains a headquarters.
The fighters who trained at the Salahadin Ayyubi camp executed a complex suicide assault against the headquarters for the Afghan National Directorate of Security in the southeastern province of Ghazni on Sept. 4, 2014. According to Pajhwok Afghan News, 14 security personnel and 19 heavily armed Taliban fighters were killed and another 154 people were wounded during the coordinated attack.
Other jihadist groups also operate camps inside Afghanistan. For instance, the US government stated in 2014 that Harakat-ul-Mujahideen, a Pakistani jihadist group that is closely allied with al Qaeda, “operates terrorist training camps in eastern Afghanistan.” The Turkistan Islamic Party, a Uighur jihadist group closely allied to al Qaeda, has also showcased a training camp reportedly in Afghanistan earlier this year.
Additionally, al Qaeda and Lashkar-e-Taiba are known to operate several training camps in the eastern Afghan provinces of Kunar and Nuristan. A dual-hatted Taliban and al Qaeda military commander known as Qari Zia Rahman is known to have run training camps that are used to indoctrinate and train females, including children, to carry out suicide attacks on both sides of the Afghan-Pakistani border. And ISAF has targeted several bases and camps in Kunar over the years. [See LWJ report, ISAF captures al Qaeda’s top Kunar commander.]
Screenshots from the video: