Kabul: Taliban bomb master Naimatullah is a man known to go about his business carefully.
And when it comes to bombs, the 25-year-old Pashtun says getting them from Pakistan is much easier than making them in Afghanistan.
He asks: “For us, Pakistan is a 20-minute drive away. Why should we risk making explosives when we can just go across the border and get it readymade?”
When pressed on whether Pakistan’s military or its intelligence agency supplied components, The Sunday Times quotes him, as saying with a shy smile: “I cannot say. It comes from Pakistan. That is all.”
Last week, in an interview with The Sunday Times, he displayed the video, filmed on a mobile phone, showing himself at work. The video will soon be used to help train other bomb makers.
Every year, according to the paper, Naimatullah crosses the border into Pakistan and spends a couple of months at a Taliban camp, teaching his deadly art to the next generation of bomb specialists.
He boasts that he has killed “lots” of American troops only a fortnight earlier by detonating a bomb under a US armoured vehicle.
That attack took place in Khost province in southeast Afghanistan, where he leads a 10-man explosives unit.
But his expertise has been passed on to Taliban cells operating across the entire country.
He says he wanted to be interviewed so he could correct some of the common misconceptions about the Taliban.
“The foreigners say we are paid to lay the bombs. They call us the USD 10 fighters. This is all lies. We are not paid a regular salary. If the little money we do receive stopped coming to us then we would still continue our jihad for as long as we could afford,” Naimutullah says.
His training as a maker of bombs took place in the basement of a mud house on the edge of a village. An instructor taught in front of a blackboard, drawing in chalk the techniques used to make IEDs as the class of 10 sat at his feet, surrounded by photographs of bombs tacked to the walls.
By 2009, after a series of successful attacks on US troops, the pupil had replaced the master.
Naimatullah is now one of at least 100 trainers who teach recruits about various types of IED: pressure plates, detonated when a soldier steps on the bomb; remote-controlled, triggered by a mobile phone; and command wire, detonated by attaching wires to a battery pack.
He advises students to lay the bombs in hard ground and to improvise by adding unexploded mortar rounds, artillery shells or gas canisters to create maximum carnage.