At Pakistan’s ‘Taliban U,’ jihadists major in anti-Americanism

by Sib Kaifee,
February 8, 2014

A 90-minute drive northwest of Islamabad is an Islamic seminary that is considered the ivory tower of terrorism, a jihadist factory that has produced prominent Taliban fighters and its leadership for decades.

Unofficially dubbed “University of Jihad,” Dar ul Uloom Haqqania [House of Knowledge and Truthfulness] counts Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Muhammad Omar and Jalaluddin Haqqani, founder of the dreaded Haqqani Network, among its alumni. Names of most of more than 8,000 former students who have passed through the seminary are encased in glass-covered wooden frames that hang on the walls inside the main building.

“The Haqqanis got their surname from Haqqania, this madrassa” “Ammanullah,” a proud member of the Class of 2007, told during a recent tour, a rare look inside the seminary along the Grand Trunk Road in Akora Khattak.

The campus is the size of four football fields, encompassing several buildings guarded by one police gunman. About 3,500 students currently live and study at the compound, which has churned out generations of freedom fighters stretching back to the 1980s Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Closely aligned with the Taliban of Afghanistan and Pakistan, it is at violent odds with the current governments of both nations.

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