QUETTA, Pakistan — A terrorist survival information kit, obtained by United Press International, reveals how the Taliban, al Qaeda and their sympathizers are preparing to survive a long and drawn-out U.S.-led war against terrorism.
The contents of the kit have been printed in several languages — Arabic, Dari, Pashto and Urdu — and the kit has been distributed secretly among terrorists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The contents, consisting of a number of documents, were obtained in Pakistan from people who are associated with the Taliban, al Qaeda and other banned groups that continue to operate in the region. The authenticity was confirmed independently by Afghan and Pakistani sources, who were already familiar with the contents.
They show that the Taliban, al Qaeda and other militant 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, even in areas where there is widespread sympathy in the local population.
Documents in the kit repeatedly emphasize the need for Taliban and al Qaeda terrorists to “merge with the masses” and “become indistinguishable” from the rest of the people.
The instructions explain that large terrorist organizations have already divided themselves into three segments.
The first segment is the central command, which is referred to as “markaz” (center), or “nazm” (leadership).”
The second segment is that of small units, and the third and most important is that of individual members who are called “friends” and are 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.
The kit contains pictures of 18 terrorists who are on the FBI’s most-wanted list. The first is that of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, followed by his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahri, and other top al Qaeda operatives.
A caption above the pictures says: “These are mujahideen, 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.
An al Qaeda pamphlet in the kit cites a verse from the Koran:
“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 will be rewarded [by God].”
A manual 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.”
It features instructions for al Qaeda units:
“If you live in an area where people wear Western dress, 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 [province in Pakistan], stay away from them because they often spy for intelligence agencies.”
“Don’t visit the local mosque regularly. Instead say your prayers at your residence, even the weekly Friday prayer.”
“Know your neighbors but do not make too many friends … do not travel unless you have to … 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.”
The kit offers tips on using a cell phone:
“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.”
How to use the Internet:
“For using the Internet, you must go to an Internet cafe … never use the same Internet cafe again and again … before leaving the cafe, remove all evidence … while sending an e-mail, never use the language that could reveal your ideological commitment.”
Relations within al Qaeda:
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”