Secret Camps Offer Operational Courses in Jihad Tactics

Publication: Terrorism Focus Volume: 3 Issue: 12

An interesting recent posting on the Abu al-Bokhary jihadi forum ( provides some useful insight about the current conditions and the priorities in the training of mujahideen. The anonymous author of a “Basic Course for Beginners in Secret Mujahideen Camps,” describes a “five day course for first beginners in jihadist activity.” He states that it is derived from practical experience in a fast-tightening environment, in which “time is against the brothers, and in which there is the necessity to train by any means available.” This means camps “in secluded places whose existence is limited to one week.” After first detailing the type of equipment, communications and weaponry to be brought, the posting gives an hour-by-hour program of events.

DAY ONE of the course is taken up with constructing the camp and establishing the group dynamics of the 14-member team, apportioning roles and appointing the amir (commander). The 30-by-10 meter site of the camp is to contain a mosque, sleeping rooms, latrine and kitchen, for each of which the details on measurements, location and camouflage are provided. Time is to be set aside for instilling the importance of discipline, “the fear of God and obedience to the amir” and of banishing levity, while each day is to contain time slots both for physical training and spiritual exercises in the form of readings from the Quran.

On DAY TWO the military training begins in earnest and includes the following sections:

–Hand weapons: assembly and disassembly of revolvers and Kalashnikovs;

–Training in Islamic law and appropriate Islamic conduct;

–Lessons in night patrols and the use of security measures, such as passwords.

DAY THREE is made up of lessons that may last from 30 minutes up to one hour and include the following subjects:

–The concealment of light weapons in clothing: how to conceal a Kalashnikov in the clothing of two persons and maneuver with these Kalashnikov parts; practice in throwing the parts from one to another while moving;

–Assassination techniques: throttling, knife assault, obtaining the enemy’s knife, how and where to deal fatal blows to the body;

–Setting up cells, maneuvering and communications between them;

–Bodyguard duties and the defense of the commander;

–Maneuvering while armed or firing the weapon;

–Map reading, route analysis and distance calculation, and determining the enemy’s armor;

–Rapid trench digging, dugouts behind enemy lines, camouflage;

–Intelligence gathering, the planning and study of targets, and access and escape.

DAY FOUR is devoted to live-fire exercises. The course lays emphasis on the use of silencers for training exercises, the importance of collecting and burying spent cartridges and the restoration of the area to its pristine state after use. Courses then follow on discreet food preparation, cooking and storage of food supplies for up to two weeks.

DAY FIVE consists of a performance assessment by the commander and elaborate measures to disguise the camp’s brief existence. An unexpected feature of this last day is the time given to lessons on the life and military campaigns of the Prophet Muhammad, on the nature of God and the Afterlife and the punishments of Hell. A feature of this section, with no further details offered, is the “instilling of fear in others of Hell and of God’s punishments.”

The author finally concludes with the promise to provide more information subsequently on details of the course. Immediately noticeable from the posting is the sense of concern that training should to be carried out under greater levels of secrecy and in ever-shorter timeframes than before. Some of these camps, the author explains, “have lasted less than two days, made up of 48- or 72-hour courses.” It is also interesting to note that even under such perilous conditions, elements relating to doctrine are still retained.