ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — The Taliban has published its first military field manual detailing how to spring ambushes, run spies and conduct an insurgency against coalition forces in Afghanistan.
At 144 pages, "Military Teachings for the Preparation of Mujahedeen," is a minutely detailed how-to book on subjects ranging from tactics and weapons to building training camps and spycraft.
The guide, which is similar in its aims to British and American military field manuals, was obtained by the Daily Telegraph from a source in Pakistan who claimed to be close to the Taliban. Its cover bears the image of two crossed swords and the Koran, the arms of the Taliban's ousted government of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan.
The book, written in the Pashto language, "will soon be made available to the commanders in Afghanistan as well as its adjacent tribal areas in Pakistan," the source said.
"This is the first of its kind and shows a significant level of organization," said Brig. Mahmood Shah, a retired military intelligence officer who was in charge of security in the tribal areas.
Maulana Nek Zaman, a member of the Pakistani parliament from North Waziristan, where security forces and local pro-Taliban militants are engaged in daily skirmishes, said the manual had a potentially large readership. "It is not a case of just Taliban who are fighting but all the tribes are resisting because they have been attacked," he said.
Last year the Taliban published a pocket-sized code of conduct which described suicide bombers as "Omar's missiles," referring to the Taliban's spiritual leader, Mullah Omar.
The military manual is divided into 10 chapters and appears to be the result of a collaboration between religious scholars and specialists in terrorist, logistical and intelligence tactics. It is illustrated with simple formulas for the preparation of explosives, pictures and diagrams of light and heavy weaponry, ammunition and communication equipment.
It sets out to convince women and children to join the Taliban movement with the aid of verses from the Koran.
"In this situation the children are not bound to seek the permission of their parents; a woman should go to jihad without the permission of her husband, a slave without the permission of his master, a student without the permission of his teacher, could go to jihad. And this is totally applicable in the prevailing situation where the infidels have occupied the land of the Muslims in Afghanistan," it states.
It addresses the question of prosecuting jihad without one's ruler's permission, making a veiled reference to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "Islam does not allow a person, group or an entity to announce jihad, without the permission of the ruler of the day (Khalifa)." However, it states "if a Khalifa is a puppet of the infidels, then there is no need to seek his permission for jihad."
• Ashraf Ali in Peshawar, Pakistan, contributed to this article.