'Father of the Taliban' ASSASSINATED in brutal knife and gun attack

Daily Express :: World Feed
'Father of the Taliban' ASSASSINATED in brutal knife and gun attack

Sami ul-Haq was killed by unknown attackers at his home in an upmarket suburb of Pakistani capital Islamabad.

Initial reports suggested he had been shot dead but relatives claim he was attacked with knives and daggers before being gunned down.

His nephew Mohammad Bilal said: "When the assailants entered his house they first started hitting Mullah Sami ul-Haq with knives and daggers and then shot him dead.

There were also conflicting reports about why his bodyguard and driver were apparently not there to defend him at the time of the attack.

Sami ul-Haq ran the Darul Uloom Haqqania seminary in Pakistan's Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province, near the Afghanistan border, for decades.

Osama bin Laden is believed to have been one of his students in the 1980s before he became leader of al-Qaeda and waged a brutal campaign of terror against the West which culminated in the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington in which almost 3,000 people were killed.

Another student, known later as Mullah Mohammad Omar, went along with classmates to Afghanistan to join mujahideen groups fighting against the Soviet occupation of the country.

Mullah Omar went on to found the Taliban, which seized power in Afghanistan in 1996 after years of chaos and civil war following the Soviet military's withdrawal.

The ultra-conservative Taliban imposed an extreme version of Islamic sharia law on Afghanistan that included forbidding women to leave home without a male relative, imposing minimum lengths on men's beards and banning sports, radio and television.

Afghan Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said: “The people of Afghanistan will never forget Haq's services for them and his killers are the enemies of Islam.”

Haq's seminary has continued to thrive in Pakistan, including being allocated funding in the budgets of the provincial government, which is headed by Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.

Haq had emerged as one of Khan's allies since the PTI came to power in the province after elections in 2013.

Pakistan's Interior Ministry confirmed Haq's death in a statement and expressed its condolences.

A spokesman for the military condemned the "assassination" and expressed "grief and condolences" to his family.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets near the northwestern town of Mardan near Haq's seminary.

Haq’s deputy Yousaf Shah said he was seen as a possible intermediary in talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Another family member said: “Recently, when the Afghan government sent him a delegation and sought his help in bringing the Afghan Taliban to the negotiation table, he offered them his madrassa to sit with each other and build trust.”

Thousand of mourners attended his funeral in the Pakistani town of Akora Khattack today.

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