What to Expect When You're Expecting to Become a Jihadi

PHOTO: Samir Khan
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Al Qaeda's Yemeni affiliate has released a new English-language training manual that offers American would-be jihadis details on what to expect when they join al Qaeda, but recommends that they consider staying home and "attacking America in its own backyard."

Written by U.S.-raised al Qaeda propagandist Samir Khan, who was killed in a 2011 drone strike, "Expectations Full" tells Western recruits what hardships they can expect to encounter when they arrive at training camps in Yemen and other Muslim countries, from physical training and outdoor living to dealing with wounds.

"Many Muslims dream of making it to the front lines of jihad," says the foreword. "In this document, the writer gives his fellow Muslim a sense of what the life of a mujahid would be during the twenty-first century."

Khan suggests that in order to experience what life can be like in a training camp, aspiring jihadis practice going a week without using any electronic equipment, talking above a low voice or leaving their apartment.

But he also suggests that Americans simply stay home. "I strongly recommend all the brothers and sisters coming from the West to consider attacking America in its own backyard. "The effect is much greater, it always embarrasses the enemy, and these types of individual decision-making attacks are nearly impossible for them to contain."

In the section titled "Aerial Bombardment," Khan tells readers that it's normal to be "shaken up by missiles which are released from jets, helicopters, spy planes, ships and whatnot." During bombardment, recommends Khan, ""If you feel terrified ... close your eyes and image yourself inside, paradise, entering its magnificent gates. Imagine glancing at your beautiful palace . . . Think of your hoor [beautiful maidens promised to believers] that are awaiting you."

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He also describes surviving an attack via cluster bombs, and the "loud and annoying bee-like sound" of a drone hovering overhead. "I swear by Allah, when one is under the aerial bombardment of the enemy, there is no time in the world when one feels closer to their [God] than this," wrote Khan. He was killed by U.S. Hellfire missiles fired by Predator drones on Sept. 30, 2011, along with U.S.-born radical cleric Anwar al-Awlaki.

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