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Al Qaeda Training Manual

In the name of Allah, the merciful and compassionate


To those champions who avowed the truth day and night...

...And wrote with their blood and sufferings these phrases...

-*-The confrontation that we are calling for with the apostate regimes does not know Socratic debates..., Platonic ideals..., nor Aristotelian diplomacy. But it knows the dialogue of bullets, the ideals of assassination, bombing, and destruction, and the diplomacy of the cannon and machine-gun.


Islamic governments have never and will never be established through peaceful solutions and cooperative councils. They are established as they [always ] have been

by pen and gun
by word and bullet
by tongue and teeth





Principles of Military Organization:

Military Organization has three main principles without which it cannot be established.

  1. Military Organization commander and advisory council
  2. The soldiers (individual members)
  3. A clearly defined strategy

Military Organization Requirements:

The Military Organization dictates a number of requirements to assist it in confrontation and endurance. These are:

  1. Forged documents and counterfeit currency
  2. Apartments and hiding places
  3. Communication means
  4. Transportation means
  5. Information
  6. Arms and ammunition
  7. Transport

The following excerpts are from a document found by the police in Manchester, England, during a search of an Al Qaeda member's home. The document, which has since been described by the FBI as the Al Qaeda training manual, was found in a computer file described as "the military series" related to the "Declaration of Jihad." These excerpts describe the structure of a military organization whose main mission is the "overthrow of the godless regimes and their replacement with an Islamic regime," and include instructions on counterfeiting and forgery, security measures for undercover activities, and strategies in the case of arrest and indictment. The manual was translated into English and introduced as evidence in the embassy bombing trial in New York in 2001. Further excerpts are available at the Department of Justice website.

Missions Required of the Military Organization:

The main mission for which the Military Organization is responsible is:

The overthrow of the godless regimes and their replacement with an Islamic regime. Other missions consist of the following:

  1. Gathering information about the enemy, the land, the installations, and the neighbors.
  2. Kidnaping enemy personnel, documents, secrets, and arms.
  3. Assassinating enemy personnel as well as foreign tourists.
  4. Freeing the brothers who are captured by the enemy.
  5. Spreading rumors and writing statements that instigate people against the enemy.
  6. Blasting and destroying the places of amusement, immorality, and sin; not a vital target.
  7. Blasting and destroying the embassies and attacking vital economic centers.
  8. Blasting and destroying bridges leading into and out of the cities.




Financial Security Precautions:

  1. Dividing operational funds into two parts: One part is to be invested in projects that offer financial return,and the other is to be saved and not spent except during operations.
  2. Not placing operational funds [all] in one place.
  3. Not telling the Organization members about the location of the funds.
  4. Having proper protection while carrying large amounts of money.
  5. Leaving the money with non-members and spending it as needed.
  6. Forged Documents (Identity Cards, Records Books, Passports)

    The following security precautions should be taken:

  7. Keeping the passport in a safe place so it would not be ceized by the security apparatus, and the brother it belongs to would have to negotiate its return (I'll give you your passport if you give me information)
  8. All documents of the undercover brother, such as identity cards and passport, should be falsified.
  9. When the undercover brother is traveling with a certain identity card or passport, he should know all pertinent [information] such as the name, profession, and place of residence.
  10. the Organization...should be composed of many cells whose members do not know one another.
  11. The brother who has special work status (commander, communication link,...)should have more than one identity card and passport. He should learn the contents of each, the nature of the [indicated ]profession,and the dialect of the residence area listed in the document.
  12. The photograph of the brother in these documents should be without a beard.It is preferable that the brother's public photograph [on these documents] be also without a beard. If he already has one [document] showing a photograph with a beard, he should replace it.
  13. When using an identity document in different names, no more than one such document should be carried at one time.
  14. The validity of the falsified travel documents should always be confirmed.
  15. All falsification matters should be carried out through the command and not haphazardly (procedure control)
  16. Married brothers should not add their wives to their passports.
  17. When a brother is carrying the forged passport of a certain country, he should not travel to that country. It is easy to detect forgery at the airport, and the dialect of the brother is different from that of the people from that country.

>> editor's note

For more on terrorists' use of forged identity documents, see FRONTLINE's report Crossing Borders: How Terrorists Use Fake Passports.

Security Precautions Related to the Organizations' Given Names:

  1. The name given by the Organization [to the brother] should not be odd in comparison with other names used around him.
  2. A brother should not have more than one name in the area where he lives {the undercover work place)


Method of Communication Among Members of the Organization:

  1. Communication about undercover activity should be done using a good cover; it should also be quick, explicit, and pertinent. That is, just for talking only.
  2. Prior to contacting his members, the commander of the cell [2] should agree with each of them separately (the cell members should never meet all in one place and should not know one another) on a manner and means of communication with each other. Likewise, the chief of the Organization should [use a similar technique] with the branch commanders.
  3. A higher-ranking commander determines the type and method of communication with lower-ranking leaders.

[2] Cell or cluster methods should be adopted by the Organization. It should be composed of many cells whose members do not know one another, so that if a cell member is caught the other cells would not be affected, and work would proceed normally.


Defining Members Safety:

This is a set of measures taken by members who perform undercover missions in order to prevent the enemies from getting to them.

It is necessary for any party that adopts Jihad work and has many members to subdivide its members into three groups, each of which has its own security measures. The three groups are:

1.The overt member, 2.The covert member, 3.The commander

Measures that Should be Taken by the Overt Member:

  1. He should not be curious and inquisitive about matters that do not concern him.
  2. He should not be chatty and talkative about everything he knows or hears.
  3. He should not carry on him the names and addresses of those members he knows. If he has to, he should keep them safe.
  4. During times of security concerns and arrest campaigns and especially if his appearance is Islamic, he should reduce his visits to the areas of trouble and remain at home instead.
  5. When conversing on the telephone, he should not talk about any information that might be of use to the enemy.
  6. When sending letters, he should not mention any information that might be of use to the enemy. When receiving letters, he should burn them immediately after reading them and pour water on them to prevent the enemy from reading them. Further, he should destroy any traces of fire so the enemy would not find out that something was burned.

Measures that Should be Taken by the Undercover Member:

In addition to the above measures, the member should...

  1. Not reveal his true name to the Organization's members who are working with him, nor to the [Islamic] Da'wa [Call].
  2. Have a general appearance that does not indicate Islamic orientation (beard, toothpick, book, [long] shirt, small Koran).
  3. Be careful not to mention the brothers' common expressions or show their behaviors (special praying appearance, "may Allah reward you", "peace be on you" while arriving and departing,etc.)
  4. Avoid visiting famous Islamic places (mosques, libraries, Islamic fairs, etc.)
  5. Carry falsified personal documents and know all the information they contain.
  6. Have protection preceding his visit to any place while moving about (apartment, province, means of transportation, etc.).
  7. Have complete and accurate knowledge of the security status related to those around him in his place of work and residence, so that no danger or harm would catch him unaware.
  8. Maintain his family and neighborhood relationships and should not show any changes towards them so that they would not attempt to bring him back [from the Organization] for security reasons.
  9. Not resort to utilizing letters and messengers except in an emergency.
  10. Not speak loudly.
  11. Not get involved in advocating good and denouncing evil in order not to attract attention to himself.
  12. Break the daily routine, especially when performing an undercover mission. For example, changing the departure and return routes, arrival and departure times, and the store where he buys his goods.
  13. Not causing any trouble in the neighborhood where he lives or at the place of work.
  14. Converse on the telephone using special code so that he does not attract attention.
  15. Not contacting the overt members except when necessary. Such contacts should be brief.
  16. Not fall into the enemy's excitement trap, either through praising or criticizing his Organization.
  17. Performing the exercises to detect surveillance whenever a task is to be performed.
  18. Not park in no-parking zones and not take photographs where it is forbidden.
  19. Closing all that should be closed before departing the place, whether at home or his place of undercover work.
  20. Not undergo a sudden change in his daily routine or any relationships that precede his Jihad involvement. For example, there should not be an obvious change in his habits of conversing, movement, presence, or disappearance. Likewise, he should not be hasty to sever his previous relationships.
  21. Not meet in places where there are informers, such as coffee shops, and not live in areas close to the residences of important personalities, government establishments, and police stations.
  22. Not write down on any media, specially on paper, that could show the traces and words of the pen by rubbing the paper with lead powder.

Measures that Should be Taken by the Commander:

*The commander, whether in overt or covert work, has special importance for the following reasons:

  1. The large amount of information that he possesses.
  2. The difficulty of the command in replacing the commander.
  3. Therefore, all previously mentioned security precautions regarding members should be heightened for the commander. Many resources should be reserved for protecting the commanders.

Important Note:

*Married brothers should observe the following:

  1. Not talking with their wives about Jihad work.
  • The members with security risks should not travel with their wives. A wife with an Islamic appearance (veil) attracts attention.
  • ...

    An Important Question: How can a Muslim spy live among enemies if he maintains his Islamic characteristics?How can he perform his duties to Allah and not want to appear Muslim?

    Concerning the issue of clothing and appearance (appearance of true religion), Ibn Taimia - may Allah have mercy on him - said, "If a Muslim is in a combat or godless area, he is not obligated to have a different appearance from [those around him]. The [Muslim] man may prefer or even be obligated to look like them, provided his action brings a religious benefit of preaching to them, learning their secrets and informing Muslims, preventing their harm, or some other beneficial goal."

    Resembling the polytheist in religious appearance is a kind of "necessity permits the forbidden" even though they [forbidden acts] are basically prohibited. As for the visible duties, like fasting and praying, he can fast by using any justification not to eat with them [polytheist]. As for prayer, the book (Al-Manhaj Al-Haraki Lissira Al-Nabawiya) quotes Al-Bakhari that "he [the Moslem] may combine the noon and afternoon [prayers], sunset and evening [prayers]. That is based on the fact that the prophet - Allah bless and keep him - combined [prayers] in Madina without fear or hesitation."

    Though scholars have disagreed about the interpretation of that tradition, it is possible - though Allah knows best - that the Moslem spy combines [prayers] .It is noted, however, that it is forbidden to do the unlawful, such as drinking wine or fornicating. There is nothing that permits those.

    Guidelines for Beating and Killing Hostages: Religious scholars have permitted beating. They use a tradition explained in Imam Mosallem's manuscript, who quotes Thabit Ibn Ans that Allah's prophet - Allah bless and keep him - sought counsel when he was informed about Abou Soufian's arrival. Abou Bakr and Omar spoke, yet he [the prophet] did not listen. Saad Ibn Ibada said, "Do you want us, O Allah's prophet, who controls my life? If you order us to subdue the camel we would do it, or beat and follow them to Al-Ghimad lakes (5-day trip beyond Mecca), we would do it, too. "The prophet - Allah bless and keep him - called on the people, who then descended on Badr. They were met by Kureish camels carrying water. Among their takers was a young black [slave] man belonging to the Al-Hajjaj clan. They took him [as hostage]. The companions of the prophet - Allah bless and keep him - started asking him about Abou Sofian and his companions. He first said, "I know nothing about Abou Soufian but I know about Abou Jahl, Atba, Sheiba, and Omaya Ibn Khalaf. "But when they beat him he said, "O yes, I will tell you. This is the news of Abou Soufian..." Meanwhile, the prophet - Allah bless and keep him -, who was praying, started to depart saying, "Strike him if he tells you the truth and release him if he lies." Then he said, "That is the death of someone [the hostage]." He said that in the presence of his companions and while moving his hand on the ground.

    In this tradition, we find permission to interrogate the hostage for the purpose of obtaining information. It is permitted to strike the nonbeliever who has no covenant until he reveals the news, information, and secrets of his people.

    The religious scholars have also permitted the killing of a hostage if he insists on withholding information from Moslems. They permitted his killing so that he would not inform his people of what he learned about the Muslim condition, number, and secrets. In the Honein attack, after one of the spies learned about the Muslims kindness and weakness then fled, the prophet - Allah bless and keep him - permitted [shedding] his blood and said, "Find and kill him." Salma Ibn Al-Akwaa followed, caught, and killed him.

    The scholars have also permitted the exchange of hostages for money, services, and expertise, as well as secrets of the enemy 's army, plans, and numbers. After the Badr attack, the prophet - Allah bless and keep him - showed favor to some hostages, like the poet Abou Izza, by exchanging most of them for money. The rest were released for providing services and expertise to the Muslims.




    1. At the beginning of the trial, once more the brothers must insist on proving that torture was inflicted on them by State Security [investigators] before the judge.
    2. Complain [to the court] of mistreatment while in prison.
    3. Make arrangements for the brother's defense with the attorney, whether he was retained by the brother 's family or court-appointed.
    4. The brother has to do his best to know the names of the state security officers, who participated in his torture and mention their names to the judge. [These names may be obtained from brothers who had to deal with those officers in previous cases.]
    5. Some brothers may tell and may be lured by the state security investigators to testify against the brothers [i.e. affirmation witness], either by not keeping them together in the same prison during the trials, or by letting them talk to the media. In this case, they have to be treated gently, and should be offered good advice, good treatment, and pray that God may guide them.
    6. During the trial, the court has to be notified of any mistreatment of the brothers inside the prison.
    7. It is possible to resort to a hunger strike, but it is a tactic that can either succeed or fail.
    8. Take advantage of visits to communicate with brothers outside prison and exchange information that may be helpful to them in their work outside prison [according to what occurred during the investigations]. The importance of mastering the art of hiding messages is self evident here.
    9. - When the brothers are transported from and to the prison [on their way to the court] they should shout Islamic slogans out loud from inside the prison cars to impress upon the people and their family the need to support Islam.
    10. - Inside the prison, the brother should not accept any work that may belittle or demean him or his brothers, such as the cleaning of the prison bathrooms or hallways.
    11. - The brothers should create an Islamic program for themselves inside the prison, as well as recreational and educational ones, etc.
    12. - The brother in prison should be a role model in selflessness. Brothers should also pay attention to each others needs and should help each other and unite vis a vis the prison officers.
    13. - The brothers must take advantage of their presence in prison for obeying and worshiping [God] and memorizing the Qora'an, etc. This is in addition to all guidelines and procedures that were contained in the lesson on interrogation and investigation. Lastly, each of us has to understand that we don't achieve victory against our enemies through these actions and security procedures. Rather, victory is achieved by obeying Almighty and Glorious God and because of their many sins. Every brother has to be careful so as not to commit sins and everyone of us has to do his best in obeying Almighty God, Who said in his Holy Book: "We will, without doubt. help Our messengers and those who believe (both) in this world's life and the one Day when the Witnesses will stand forth." May God guide us.

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