Update [7/5]: After reading the passage again, I've added the preceding paragraph [in blue], because it enhances Zawahiri's primary argument - trust and dedication matter. On another note: I received several comments on the quality of the grammar and punctuation. Folks, this isn't my translation. It belongs to others. If you're struggling with this text, well, welcome to my world. Crappy translations are the standard.
I found this interesting. It’s a passage from the 2d edition of Zawahiri’s Knights Under the Banner of the Prophet where he identifies the key co-conspirators of the 9/11 plot. Except for a few die-hard "truthers" in the US and Pakistan, none of this is “new” information. However, in this passage Zawahiri emphasizes the need for hard work and dedication to AQ’s call [to fight the “Zionist-Crusader” menace]. That dedication is, I believe, a key characteristic of membership into Zawahiri’s inner circle, because he is always illustrating it. Clearly it means something to him:
This trust that I mentioned above cannot be given by the ummah to a group that has never been in the battlefield and has never sacrificed its youth, blood, orphans, bereaved parents, and immigrants to confront falsehood. The soldiers cannot grant this trust to a commander who stays away in a quiet place or in a monotone job, where he lives in harmony with the forces of falsehood and corruption, seeing and contemplating, nay, searching, criticizing, and hurting.
Thus, the preparation for the two conquests of New York and Washington was not limited to selecting the 19 martyrs, as we consider them, but it was based on a hard work for many years, which started with the communist aggression against Afghanistan and passed through much immigration, changing of locations, tracing, expelling, and besieging. This work lasted despite many obstacles, and unfortunately, despite much suspicion, disappointment, and humiliation.
This work was handled by a very loyal group of commanders, God knows best. The group was formed of Shaykh Usama bin Ladin, may God protect him, the leader of the Islamic jihad against the Crusader campaign in this epoch and his assistant, the heroic commander, the teacher of this generation Abu-Hafs[.] Moreover, there was Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, may God release him, who devotes himself continuously and without exhaustion to serve everyone and make sure that the mujahidin won safe and sound. That man sacrificed himself and his family for serving jihad. He is a man with various talents who has always had an ambition to learn everything valuable; he knows how to speak Arabic, English, Urdu, Persian, Pashtu, and Balochi. He has an extraordinary ability to organize, manage, and learn from his brothers and as it is said: "He was of use wherever and whenever, he possesses an unusual charm and an ability to make friends with anyone he meets from the first time." Then comes Abu-Turab al-Urduni, the silent giving soldier. His slim figure reminds you remember of the following poetic verse:
You see a slim man and you underestimate him, while he is, in reality, a lion.
He asked for martyrdom and did not pull out although he was frequently wounded, he broke his leg twice, and he lost one of his eyes and was injured in the second. He kept on asking for martyrdom until he earned it with his lifetime friend and leader, commander Abu-Hafs. He was a generous and chivalrous man with good manners. Thus, I was honored to give him my eldest daughter in marriage and they gave birth to Abdallah and Maryam. He left a will in which he asked his brothers to raise his son according to the jihadist way and not to give him a life of luxury and spoiling but to let him get used to the life of seriousness and strength so that he will grow up to be a strong jihadist. May God have a great mercy on his soul.
Then there were Ramzi Bin-Al-Shibah and Khallad (Tawfiq Bin-Atash), may God set them free, among others whom I may not recall but God knows them.