Terror manual gives chilling how-to details

By Kathy Gannon

Associated Press

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan — Poison gas. Explosives. Hand-to-hand combat. Knives. And religious exhortations.

The 11-volume "Manual of Afghan Jihad," or holy war, makes chilling reading — a how-to guide to what it calls the "basic rules of sabotage and destruction."

Most of the information can be gleaned from Internet Web sites, experts say, and another manual, written for Muslim operatives abroad and not part of the 11-volume set, was discovered last year during an investigation of Osama bin Laden.

But intelligence analysts from two Western countries who read part of the "Manual of Afghan Jihad," and who spoke on condition of anonymity, said its highly technical detail, including diagrams, represents a new level of sophistication in the training apparatus of bin Laden’s network.

The volumes were obtained by The Associated Press from a former Afghan guerrilla who said he got them from a Libyan fighter. He said the Libyan, who had fallen out with his comrades, stole them in July from the headquarters of bin Laden’s organization in Kandahar, also the home base of Afghanistan’s Taliban rulers.

The preface to "Mouswada al Jihad al Afghani," the Arabic name of the manual, says it was compiled by "The Services Office of the Training Camps," and that this "Services Office" was founded by bin Laden. It is meant for use in the battle against "the enemies of our movement, the enemies of Allah, for any Islamic group."

Each volume has a specific area of expertise. "What’s your desire?" the text asks — then takes the reader step by step through the acquiring and mixing of various explosive materials. Other sections tell how to blow up a plane, engage an armored vehicle, surround an airport, spy on a military base.

Other examples:

  • A volume on hand-to-hand combat has a chapter on "how to threaten with a knife, piercing with a knife." In the Sept. 11 terror attacks in the United States, in which bin Laden is the suspected mastermind, hijackers were believed to have been armed with knives or box-cutters.

  • In the chapter on security and intelligence, would-be assassins are instructed on specific plant life that can be used to make poison gas, how to make the gas, and what quantity is needed to kill a man. They are told that a room full of a particular odorless gas will kill someone in 30 seconds.

  • The bombs and mines section offers recipes for mines made of raw materials, and advice on how to pass through a mine field.

  • The volume on pistols and revolvers instructs on where to keep guns in the house and how to use silencers.

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