USA Today: Bin Laden's Camps Teach Curriculum Of Carnage

Published on November 26, 2001

Category: Islamic Terror in Kosovo

By Jack Kelley, USA TODAY



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Perhaps most telling about the minds of those who trained here is a document found at the camp. "I am interested in suicide operations," wrote Damir Bajrami, a 24-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, on his entry application in April 2001. "I have Kosovo Liberation Army combat experience against Serb and American forces. I need no further training. I recommend (suicide) operations against (amusement) parks like Disney."

JALALABAD, Afghanistan — Plastic explosives, timing devices and sketches of the best places to hide a bomb on an airplane filled the files of Osama bin Laden's terrorist training camps near here. Gas masks, cyanide and recipes for biological agents lined the shelves of his chemical weapons laboratory. Kalashnikov rifles, silhouetted targets and lesson plans teaching children to shoot at their victims' faces lay among the toys and near the swing set at the elementary school bin Laden established. The terrorist camps around this eastern Afghan city were apparently abandoned sometime in the past few weeks as bin Laden's al-Qa'eda terrorist network fled U.S. bomb attacks and Northern Alliance fighters. The camps offer clear evidence of the systematic way bin Laden and his lieutenants have been pursuing their efforts to wage jihad, or holy war, against the United States. Last week, USA TODAY, with the permission of Jalalabad's new governor, alliance ally Haji Abdul Qadir, visited two of bin Laden's former camps. One, in the village of Farm Hadda, is about 12 miles south of the city. The other, near Darunta, is about 15 miles west. Both are guarded by alliance troops sent by Qadir. Neither has yet been searched by U.S. troops or intelligence agents because, U.S. officials say, the area is still considered too dangerous. U.S. and alliance officials say bin Laden and up to 1,500 of his fighters, as well as some Taliban troops, may still be hiding in the hundreds of caves south of Jalalabad. For now, it is assumed that only heavily armed U.S. commandos involved in the hunt for bin Laden are in the region — but U.S. officials won't comment on the record about such operations. In Washington, Marine Gen. Tommy Franks, commander of U.S. operations in Afghanistan, says U.S. forces have begun "the business of checking those sites as they fall under our control." Once U.S. forces get to the camps, officials say, some of the information gathered could provide a "windfall" of intelligence. USA TODAY was escorted to the sites by Jalalabad security officials who insisted that it was not necessary to wear a gas mask or protective clothing. Nothing threatening happened the day of the visits, but ominous lesson plans for war were everywhere, out for display as if the camps were some sort of museum. The evidence shows that recruits at bin Laden's two main camps, at least those visited by USA TODAY, were trained in conventional, biological and even nuclear warfare, according to class manuals. They came from at least 21 countries, including Bosnia, Egypt, France, Great Britain, Jordan, Kuwait, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and other U.S. allies, enrollment records show. Nearly all the students were told to return to their countries after training and "await orders" to carry out attacks against the United States, class notes reveal. "These materials provide circumstantial evidence that corroborates the suspicion that Osama bin Laden had been seriously pursuing weapons of mass destruction," says military analyst Rifaat Hussein of Quaid-e-Azam University in Islamabad, Pakistan. "They give us a clue as to what this guy was up to. You're dealing with an enemy that has to be taken seriously." Targets identified Many of the buildings and barracks at the Darunta camp, a former Soviet military base, were destroyed by U.S. airstrikes Oct. 28. But the most important building at the camp, which contains the one-room laboratory lit by a single light bulb, was untouched. U.S. officials, who were unable to explain why it was not hit, say it has now been added it to their target list. A drawer in the lab contained three manuals. One appears to be an 18-chapter, 179-page training book written by bin Laden operatives. It identifies "buildings, bridges, embassies, schools, (and) amusement parks" as targets for destruction in the West. Another chapter discusses the destruction that can be wreaked by "atomic explosions." Hand-drawn sketches of bombs fill the margins of those pages. The two other manuals, both printed in the USA, are titled Middle Eastern Terrorist-Bomb Designs and Advanced Techniques for Making Explosives and Time-Delay Bombs. There were also 84 pages of bomb-building techniques involving dynamite and C3 and C4 plastic explosives that appear to have been downloaded from the Internet. In another drawer were several fake visa and immigration stamps, one purporting to be from the Pakistani Embassy in Rome and another from the Tajikistan Consulate in Islamabad, Pakistan. There was also a photocopy of a money transfer requesting that a London branch of Pakistan's Habib Bank AG Zurich credit the account of an individual identified as Moazzam Begg in Karachi for an unspecified sum of money. U.S. and Pakistani officials say they do not know who Begg is but will try to find him. On one shelf of the laboratory was a long metal box lined with wood shavings. It held 18 bottles of liquids with labels identifying them as lead acetate, nitric acid, carbolic acid and glycerin, all of which are highly toxic. On another shelf were several plastic containers, including one labeled cyanide. A dozen gas masks lay on the floor. All the chemicals had labels reading "Made in China." The equipment in the lab, ranging from scales to heaters, was from the United Arab Emirates. A packet of earplugs, apparently purchased in Britain, still had a price tag reading 2.51 British pounds.

Perhaps most telling about the minds of those who trained here is a document found at the camp. "I am interested in suicide operations," wrote Damir Bajrami, a 24-year-old ethnic Albanian from Kosovo, on his entry application in April 2001. "I have Kosovo Liberation Army combat experience against Serb and American forces. I need no further training. I recommend (suicide) operations against (amusement) parks like Disney."


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