The 11-volume Encyclopaedia of the Afghani Jihad, found in Abu Hamza‘s west London home, is a rare work which relates the history of the mujahidin’s victory over the Red Army and the guerilla techniques used in that fight.
Abu Hamza claimed he kept the book in his west London home as a “piece of history”. It was on his bookshelves along with other encyclopaedias, scores of religious works and a DIY manual.
The encyclopaedia, written in Arabic, is crammed with information of immense value to terrorists.
Much of the material in it is drawn originally from American sources and details in words and diagrams how to make, store and plant bombs, conduct ambushes and carry out a terror campaign.
The books were given to Abu Hamza in the mid-1990s after he returned to Britain from Afghanistan where he said he had been working as an engineer on a range of reconstruction projects in Nengarhar province.
Abu Hamza told the Old Bailey that the work was a gift from an Afghan mujahidin veteran who heard he was rebuilding his library.
He said that the paperback books, each the size of a telephone directory with a picture of a machine gun and a Koran on the cover, had sat unread on his shelves.
The encyclopaedia was the work of many hands in an organisation called Makhtab al Khidemat (Mak) – the Services Office – which was one of the seven major mujahidin factions that defeated the Russian Army.
The Mak was founded in 1979 by Abdullah Azzam, a Palestinian theologian, and his protegee Osama bin Laden, a Saudi millionaire, and based in the Pakistani town of Peshawar on the Afghan border.
The opening pages of the encyclopaedia contain dedications to both men and also a message of thanks to the Pakistani government for its help in the fight against communism.
There is, however, no acknowledgement of the American CIA which is believed to have funded and trained many of the Mak’s fighters.
After Azzam died in a car bomb in Peshawar in 1989, bin Laden went on to create al-Qaeda and the encyclopaedia became its operational textbook.