Exclusive: al-Qaida's blueprint for terror

By ANWAR IQBAL, UPI South Asian Affairs Analyst  |  Feb. 13, 2004 at 12:29 PM
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QUETTA, Pakistan, Feb. 13 (UPI) -- A terrorist survival kit, obtained by United Press International, reveals how the Taliban, al-Qaida and their sympathizers are preparing to survive the U.S.-led war against terrorism.

The kit has been printed in several languages -- Arabic, Dari, Pashto and Urdu -- and is distributed secretly among the terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The instructions aim to prepare the Taliban and al-Qaida workers and their sympathizers to survive on their own and also on how to communicate with their central leaders without exposing them. The contents show the groups are well aware of the changes brought about by the U.S.-led war on terrorism and realize they can no longer work openly. That's why they seem to be preparing for a long, clandestine war with the United States and its allies. Decentralization and secrecy are the two key elements of their new strategy in this war, which they hope to prolong also by exploiting religious sentiments of the Muslim masses.

The point the survival kit emphasizes repeatedly is the need for the Taliban and al-Qaida workers to "merge with the masses" and thus "become indistinguishable" from the rest of the people.

The instructions show large terrorist groups have already divided themselves into three segments. The first segment is the central command, which is referred to in the kit as "markaz (the center)" or "nazm (the leadership)."

The second segment is that of small units and the third and most important is that of individual members who are "friends" and are often warned "not to meet each other unless, they must" and "not to communicate with the nazm."

"Merge completely in the environment you live in ... there will be no personal friendship, not even with the members of your own group," the kit advises al-Qaida members.

The copy obtained by UPI comes complete with the pictures of 18 terrorists who are on the FBI's most-wanted list. The first picture is that of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, followed by his deputy Aiman al-Zawahiri and other top al-Qaida operatives.

A caption above the pictures declares: "These are mujahedin, not dangerous religious terrorists." The caption refers to a similar list issued recently by the government of Pakistan, which identified the 18 men as "dangerous religious terrorists" and which advised Pakistanis to inform the government if they see or hear anything about them.

The official pamphlet begins with a verse from the Koran, the Muslim holy book, saying: "God does not like those who cause violence and chaos on the earth ... when they are asked not to do so, they say we are not the mischief makers, we are the good-doers ... Indeed they are the mischief makers (although) they may not be aware of it."

Al-Qaida's pamphlet counters this by using another verse from the Koran, which says: "Those who believed (in God) and migrated and did jihad for Allah's sake and those who sheltered such people and helped them ... indeed, they are the real believers. They were will be rewarded (by God)."

The pamphlet urges Muslims to "pray for the success of these mujahedin whenever you can. God will listen to you."

The pictures lead to the survival kit, which begins with a general warning: "Every member will take all necessary precautions in his personal and social life to protect the group and its leadership ... in his personal life, each member shall merge completely with the society he lives in so that he is indistinguishable from other members of the society."

Instructions for al-Qaida units:

"If you live in an area where people wear Western dresses, you also dress like them ... if the majority in that area has a secular mindset, do not express your religious sentiments."

"Look closely at the ethnic complexion of your neighborhood ... if the area has a large number of people from Punjab (a province in Pakistan), stay away from them because they often spy for intelligence agencies."

There are instructions on how to travel, what means of transport to use in a particular area, on how to appoint one person "who looks completely benign" for doing grocery, how to use cell phones and how to deal with the local police and intelligence agencies.

"Don't visit the local mosque regularly. Instead say your prayers at your residence, even the weekly Friday prayer ... while looking for a residence, have a credible, cover story that you will tell the landlord. Always stick to that story."

"If you live in an area where people do not have cars, avoid using vehicles ... if you have to stay inside your residence when other people go to work, be quiet. Do not draw attention."

"Know your neighbors but do not make too many friends ... do not travel unless you have to ... if you have a local person who can do your work, use him ... do not visit new cities and countries ... never keep illegal objects while traveling ... never carry audio or video cassettes and posters of your group or leader while traveling ... always carry a valid driving license ... observe traffic laws."

"If you see an individual or a vehicle looming around in the area where you live or you feel someone is following you, change your residence ... do not contact other friends ... stay away from your group."

Using a cell phone to communicate with al-Qaida:

"Use a cell phone only when you must and an alternative means of communication is not available ... it is better not to use cell phones at all ... if you must use a cell phone, use the one obtained under fake name and address ... never use a phone provided by your 'nazm' for calling a friend or a relative ... if you ask your friends to call you, give them a specific time and keep your phone open only when you are expecting a call."

"Do not receive a phone at your residence, do so at a bazaar or at an open space and shut off the phone and disconnect the battery as soon as you finish the conversation."

How al-Qaida must use the Internet:

"For using the Internet, you must go to an internet café ... never visit a site that can reveal your identity, such as those belonging to FBI, al-Qaida or the mujahedin ... when opening an e-mail account, go to an internet café, never do it at home ... never use the same internet café again and again ... before leaving the café, remove all evidence, never leave any trace ... while sending an e-mail, never use the language that could reveal your ideological commitment."

"Write your message in a word processor, compose, cut, paste and send. And then disconnect. Never let your e-mail open to write a message."

How to deal with police interrogation:

There's a separate set of instructions on "how to endure interrogation."

"If unfortunately, a friend is arrested, he should remember two things: do not assume that the police know everything because they do not and always try to protect your friends and colleagues."

"The police may try to make you believe that they already know everything and that if you lie or try to hide information from them, you will unnecessary expose yourself to torture."

"The place you are arrested from is important. If you are arrested from home, you will face a different set of questions than those arrested from a place of operation or from a mujahedin hideout."

"While being interrogated, try to guess if the interrogator suspects that you are a mujahid or he knows you are one and vary your responses accordingly ... the investigators are humans like you, so do not let them bully you or enjoy unnecessary influence over you."

"The key point is: you are not guilty unless proven, so do not let your answers (be used) as evidence against you. Do not let your answers lead the interrogators to other friends."

Relations within al-Qaida:

"Each member shall resolve his personal disputes in his personal life and should not drag the group or the leadership into his personal problems."

"When the leadership advises you to work with certain individuals or introduces you to some individuals, you shall never have personal friendship with them ... always remember that we are each other's friends and brothers on the path of God, not in our personal capacities."

"If the leadership arranges a meeting with a responsible friend, or you come into contact with one ... do not mention it to anybody ... not even to those within the organization ... your failure to comply with this instruction can cause a serious harm to you and to that responsible person and you will be responsible for this harm."

"If a responsible friend gives you a secret duty ... you will not mention this job even to your closest friend within the organization, no matter how trustworthy that person may be ... because your failure to keep a secret can harm the entire organization."

"Similarly, if a responsible person has given you a message for another friend, this message should never be mentioned to a third friend within the organization ... you will deliver this message only to the person it's meant for ... you will personally deliver this message and will never use another person for this purpose."

"You should only know what concerns your task ... no friend should attempt to know more than what he is needed to know ... knowing more than what you need to can be dangerous for you and your friends."

"Do not preach ... do not try to convert others to your beliefs ... unless advised by the center to do so."

"Never expose the weakness of your organization before a junior friend."

"If a friend comes across a piece of information or a document that exposes secret programs of the center, he must bring this to a responsible friend at once."

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