Afghan training camp

An Afghan training camp is a camp or facility used for militant training located in Afghanistan. At the time of the September 11, 2001 attacks, Indian intelligence officials estimated that there were over 120 training camps operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan, run by a variety of militant groups.[1] Afghan training camps are not exclusive to any one group. Afghanistan is commonly used by groups such as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.

In 2002, journalists with The New York Times examined the sites of several former training camps, finding 5,000 documents.[2] According to The New York Times:

The documents show that the training camps were focused largely on creating an army to support the Taliban, which was waging a long ground war against the Northern Alliance. During the period of the Bush administration officials described the camps as factories churning out terrorists.

On July 25, 2007, scholars at the Combating Terrorism Center at the United States Military Academy published a study that named over two dozen training camps allegedly attended by Guantanamo captives.[3] In the al-Qaeda document, Military Studies in the Jihad Against Tyrants, a series of rules for training camps were laid out.[4]


Afghan training camps have also been functioning for decades. It is believed that several thousand camps were established throughout Afghanistan between the 1980-1989.[5] These camps have historically not only provided militant and physical training but also an extensive training and devotion to Islamic history and faith.

Training was also originally provided by seasoned veterans of other armed forces around the world. For example, Osama Bin Laden once opened a camp for non-afghan fighters that was led by two former Egyptian servicemen.[5]


While in attendance at these camps, the majority of the recruits’ work revolves around physical training and spiritual devotion. While physical training is important to some operations, theology seems to be the most important task during training. Recruits are asked to memorize sacred texts and engage in prayer throughout the day’s activities.[5]

Recruits also learn to operate weapons, how to produce explosives and poisons, vehicle driving and maintenance, basic engineering, farming and urban guerilla tactics. In addition to these trainings recruits are also subject to mazes, obstacle courses, trenches, and classroom lectures.[5]

Admission to campsEdit

According to captured documents, there are guidelines that recruits must satisfy before entering the camp. First, trainees are screened. They are evaluated on ethnicity, their devotion, and their willingness to fight.[4] One entrance form states that recruits must leave behind all valuables, not prepare food while in the camp, obey regulations, and certify that they are  in good health for training.[6] The entrance form also asks recruits about their prior military and combat experience.[6]

Secrecy is of the utmost importance, so it is common for the recruits inside the camp to not to know fellow recruits’ or instructors’ names. In most cases, the recruits at these camps do not actually know the location of their camp.[4] Trainees are also always kept in small groups of 7 to 10.[4] Camps are also generally located in a desolate area, suitable for militant training, and physical training. One document also notes the camps usually have few entrances and exits.[4]

Known locations of Afghan training campsEdit

al Farouq
  • More Guantanamo captives are alleged to have attended this camp than any other camp.[8]
  • Training lasted for approximately one month.
  • Different Guantanamo captives are alleged to have been trained on a different mix of weapons at al Farouq. If al Farouq provided training on every weapon American intelligence analysts allege is available there then it would provide training on practically every weapon found on the modern battlefield.
  • An article from The Guardian reports that US intelligence has evidence from a camp near the town Jalalabad by the name of Darunta is a home to Al-Qaeda’s chemical warfare laboratory. Evidence found in the camp consisted of laboratory bottles filled with poison, including cyanide, bomb instruction manuals and evidence of international money transfers.[9]
Tarnak Farms
Manogai Village Training Camp: Witnesses say that recruiters are busy training recruits at these camps. People in both villages are outraged that the government has not done anything to take out these hubs of terror.[14]
Pakash Village Training Camp: Also in the same area as the Manogai Village and witness report seeing the same cavity in the area.[14]
Hez-e Tahrir Camp: Recruits were taught how to handle weapons, martial arts, as well as the English and Russian language.[15]
Sar-e Pul Province Training Center: Local officials are reporting that terrorist activities are going on by the Taliban terrorist groups. Officials are claiming that they have set up “major” training camps for suicide bombers and insurgents in the district. Also, spokesman Zabihullah Amani said that the insurgents have set up a sanctuary in the Kohestant district and are using religious schools as military training camps.[16]
Khandar province Training Camps: The Washington Post reported that a US operation found “probably the largest” al-Qaeda the Khandar Province. The operation found the camp that was said to be over 30 square miles along with another small camp that was about one square mile with the large one. The training camps were found in the Shorbak district, an area right along the Pakistan border. The special operation was said to take several days to take down the camp in 2015, and was also in coordination with the Afghanistan military forces.[17]
Al Ghuraba Camp:

AL Jihad Camp:

Al-Saddiq Camp:

Jihadwal Camp:

Khabab Camp:

Libyan/Torkhom Camp:

Melak Center:

Malik Camp:

Mazar-Shariff Camp:

Saman Khaela Camp:

All reported major camps in Afghanistan that was said to be attended by Guantanamo Bay detainees from a document form the Assessment of 516 detainees from the Combat Status Review Tribunal.[3]


  1. ^ Bindra, Satinder (2001-09-19). "India identifies terrorist training camps". CNN. Archived from the original on 2009-02-07. Sources told CNN that more than 120 camps are operating in the two countries.
  2. ^ David Rohde, C. J. Chivers (2002-03-17). "Qaeda's Grocery Lists And Manuals of Killing". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-09-18.
  3. ^ a b Felter, Joseph; Brachman, Jarret (July 25, 2007). "CTC Report: An Assessment of 516 Combatant Status Review Tribunal (CSRT) Unclassified Summaries" (PDF). Combating Terrorism Center.
  4. ^ a b c d e Post, Jerrold (2004). Military Studies in the Jihad Against the Tyrants: THE AL-QAEDA TRAINING MANUAL. Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama: USAF Counterproliferation Center.
  5. ^ a b c d Forest, James (2006). The Making of a Terrorist: Recruitment, Training and Root Causes. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger Security International.
  6. ^ a b "Camp Acceptance Requirements". Combating Terrorism Center. Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  7. ^ Brynjar Lia, Architect of Global Jihad: The Life of Al-Qaida Strategist Abu Mus'ab al-Suri pg. 242–243, Columbia University Press, 2008
  8. ^ Brachman, Jarret (June 2008). "Countering terrorism". 2008 IEEE International Conference on Intelligence and Security Informatics. IEEE: xxiv. doi:10.1109/isi.2008.4565010. ISBN 9781424424146.
  9. ^ McCarthy, Rory (November 16, 2001). "Inside Bin Laden's Chemical Bunker". Retrieved May 7, 2019.
  10. ^ "Missed opportunities: The CIA had pictures. Why wasn't the al-Qaida leader captured or killed?". NBC News. March 17, 2004. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  11. ^ "Watch the video: Osama Bin Laden's HQ". The Times. London. October 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  12. ^ "Focus: Chilling message of the 9/11 pilots". The Times. London. October 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  13. ^ Steve Coll (February 21, 2004). "Legal Disputes Over Hunt Paralyzed Clinton's Aides". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2006-12-30.
  14. ^ a b "Islamic State has training camps in Afghan east, says police chief". BBC Monitoring South Asia. June 2017. ProQuest 1907182229. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Fargona, Haqiqati (July 2005). "Regional Paper Prints Uzbek youth's account of training in Afghan Camp". BBC Monitoring Central Asia. ProQuest 450728302. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  16. ^ "Terrorists set up camps in Afghan Sar-e Pul Province". BBC Monitoring South Asia. March 2017. ProQuest 1882367742. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  17. ^ Lamothe, Dan (October 30, 2015). "'Probably the largest' al-Qaeda training camps ever destroyed in Afghanistan". Retrieved May 7, 2019.