The Taliban’s founder Mullah Muhammed Omar, the one-eyed reclusive cleric-warrior who sheltered Osama bin Laden, is being linked to what was called ‘the University of jihad’ but has become now‘the University of the Taliban cabinet,”
Flanked by adoring supporters, one of whom crouches on the floor kissing his legs, Maulana Hamid Ul-Haq jokes about the nickname given by critics who have repeatedly labelled the school a hotbed of radicalisation. This is because its alumni include some of the Taliban’s most powerful and feared leaders, many of whom are on global wanted lists and are now in their new cabinet after the group swept to power in neighbouring Afghanistan last month.
The biggest names from the notorious Haqqani network, a US-designated terrorist group linked to the Taliban, have been taught there, including its founder, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and Khalil Haqqani, now the Taliban’s minister for refugees. The Taliban’s spokesperson Zabihullah Mujahid is also a graduate.
Read more in light of its links to several well-known jihadis, the head of Darul Uloom Haqqania is trying to change its image following the Taliban victory: ‘We’re no longer ‘the University of jihad’ but ‘the University of the Taliban cabinet’: inside Pakistan’s notorious madrasa