Azerbaijan on Wednesday launched free military intelligence courses for teenagers as young as 15 as the ex-Soviet state remains mired in an unresolved conflict with neighbouring Armenia.
"Students will learn about skills necessary for an intelligence agent as well as camouflage methods, the use of weapons and hand-to-hand fighting," organiser Major General Novruzali Orujev told AFP.
Orujev said he launched the training programme in response to demand from young people who wanted to serve in military intelligence when conscripted into the armed forces.
He said 20 young people had been selected out of more than 70 who applied to take part in the free month-long courses.
After completing the course male participants will be eligible to join military intelligence units when they do national service.
Azerbaijan and Armenia are at loggerheads over breakaway Nagorny Karabakh region, where ethnic Armenian forces backed by Yerevan seized control from Baku during a war in the early 1990s that left around 30,000 people dead.
After peace talks mediated by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) produced little if any result, Azerbaijan stepped up its bellicose rhetoric, threatening to use force.
A flare-up between Azerbaijan and Armenia risks escalating into a clash of major regional powers Russia, Iran, and Turkey as well as the West, which all have strategic interests in the energy-rich Caspian and Caucasus regions.
Military service is compulsory in Azerbaijan for males aged between 18 to 35 who have to complete between one year and 18 months of service depending on their level of education.