The Taliban in Afghanistan has issued a book laying down a code of conduct for its fighters.
Al Jazeera has obtained a copy of the book, which further indicates that Mullah Omar, the movement's leader, wants to centralize its operations. The book, with 13 chapters and 67 articles, lays out what one of the most secretive organizations in the world today, can and cannot do. It talks of limiting suicide attacks, avoiding civilian casualties and winning the battle for the hearts and minds of the local civilian population.
Al Jazeera has obtained a copy of the Taliban's new military code of conduct, approved by Mullah Omar, its Afghan leader. It appears to be an attempt to consolidate a disparate movement. Following are some key quotes that outline the new code of conduct:
"Every Muslim can invite anyone working for the slave government in Kabul to leave their job, and cut their relationship with this corrupt administration. If the person accepts, then with the permission of the provincial and district leadership, a guarantee of safety can be given."
"Whenever any official, soldier, contractor or worker of the slave government is captured, these prisoners cannot be attacked or harmed. "The decision on whether to seek a prisoner exchange, or to release the prisoner, with a strong guarantee, will be made by the provincial leader. Releasing prisoners in exchange for money is strictly prohibited."
"If the prisoner is a director, commander or district chief or higher, the decision on whether to harm, kill, release or forgive them is only made by the Imam or deputy Imam."
If a military infidel is captured, the decision on whether to kill, release or exchange the hostage is only to be made by the Imam or deputy Imam."
On civilian casualties:
"Governors, district chiefs and line commanders and every member of the Mujahideen must do their best to avoid civilian deaths, civilian injuries and damage to civilian property. Great care must be taken."
On suicide attacks:
"Suicide attacks should only be used on high and important targets. A brave son of Islam should not be used for lower and useless targets. The utmost effort should be made to avoid civilian casualties."
"Creating a new mujahideen group or battalion is forbidden. If unofficial groups or irregular battalions refuse to join the formal structure they should be disbanded. If a governor or leader has in the past had a unit or active group in another province, they should bring it to the attention of the leader of that province. That leader should then take over command of the group."
On relations with the Afghan people:
"The Mujahideen have to behave well and show proper treatment to the nation, in order to bring the hearts of civilian muslims closer to them. The mujahideen must avoid discrimination based on tribal roots, language or their geographic background."