Taliban issues 'Code of Conduct' to fighters in Afghanistan
The 13-chapter guide tells militants to avoid unnecessary suicide bombings and civilian casualties while waging war against the oppressors, reported Telegraph.
The booklet issued by Taliban supreme leader Mullah Omar was seized by Nato forces in raids in Afghanistan earlier this summer.
It reveals concern about how its attacks are regarded by the civilian population, including minority groups, and its need to be seen as a disciplined force motivated by Islamic principle rather than personal greed or malice.
It orders Taliban fighters not to harm Afghans working for the government, and to avoid civilian casualties in the battle for hearts and minds.
"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," it said.
There is also guidance on suicide bombings sparingly: "A brave son of Islam should not be used for lower and useless targets. The utmost effort should be made to avoid civilian casualties."
And there is even a passage telling fighters to avoid discrimination wherever possible: "The mujahideen must avoid discrimination based on tribal roots, language or geographic background."
The code appears to be an attempt to impose a more rigid command structure on disparate and semi-autonomous Taliban groups.
It warns irregular Taliban units must either operate under its official command structure or disband. Only provincial commanders have the authority to agree to prisoner exchanges, and "releasing prisoners in exchange for money is strictly prohibited," it warns.
According to the code, Nato troops, senior Afghan army officers and government officials may be executed, but only with the permission of Mullah Omar or one of his deputies.
Nato commanders yesterday denounced the 'code' as a propaganda exercise aimed at persuading Afghan civilians it is a disciplined force which follows the rules of war.
"It seems to be a form of propaganda to try to show there is a central control over the insurrection," said Brigadier General Eric Tremblay.
He said the code was a sham and that its "rules" had been exposed as false by 90 suicide bombings it had carried out this year. Forty per cent of their victims were civilians, he said.
A spokesman for Afghanistan's Defence Ministry also denounced the Taliban code's warning against attacks on government employees and abuse of prisoners of war. He said Taliban militants had seized and beheaded an Afghan soldier in Paktika province this week.