The Pakistani have published the first edition of a magazine aimed at convincing women to join them and practise jihad.
The inaugural front cover of Sunnat-i-Khaula – which translates as “The Way of Khaula” and refers to a 7th-century female Muslim warrior – shows a woman veiled from head to toe.
The 45-page magazine attempts to depict support from a section of society traditionally despised by the militant group.
As well as an advice column for would-be female jihadists, the magazine contains an interview with the wife of Fazlullah Khorasani, the head of . She is not named in the interview, in which she talks about marrying Khorasani at 14.
“I ask you why now everywhere there is a hue and cry about underage marriages … We have to understand that mature boys and girls if left unmarried for too long can become a source of moral destruction of the society,” she says.
An opening editorial says the magazine is aimed at encouraging “women of Islam to come forward and join the ranks of mujahideen [holy warriors]”.
“Organise secret gatherings at home and invite like-minded jihadi sisters,” the editorial suggests. “Distribute literature reflecting on the obligation of jihad, arrange physical training classes for sisters. Learn how to operate simple weapons. Learn the use of grenades.”
Michael Kugelman, a south Asia specialist at the Woodrow Wilson Center in the US, said it made sense for the Pakistani Taliban to launch a women’s magazine.
“This is a struggling organisation that is trying to re-establish networks and membership after being hit hard on the battlefield in recent years,” he said. “Women are a strategic demographic because they have the ability to exert influence over their sons. If women are converted to the militant cause, they can encourage their sons – or daughters for that matter – to join it as well.”