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Taliban turn school into ‘Jamia Hafsa’

KHAR, June 25: The Taliban seized a government-run girls’ school and renamed it after an Islamabad madressah destroyed in a siege last year, residents and officials said on Wednesday.

They hoisted their flag atop the school in Pusht, a town in the Bajaur tribal district, and named it Jamia Hafsa after the girls’ seminary connected to the Lal Masjid, they said.

“We are trying to convince them through local elders to vacate the building,” local administration official Iqbal Khan said.

Residents said armed men led by local Taliban leader Qari Naimatullah forcibly took control of the school on Tuesday and warned that other female schools in the area would be seized to be used for religious education.

“We want to convert it into a madressah, because the Western system of education is not good for girls,” Naimatullah’s spokesman Ghulam Waheed told AFP.

“We have named it as Jamia Hafsa to avenge the attack on the Red Mosque’s madressah which was razed to the ground during an army operation last year,” he said.

He criticised the previous government for not rebuilding the large seminary for female students run by the Red Mosque.

“We will take over other schools also and name them after Jamia Hafsa,” he said.
Source: Dawn
Date:6/26/2008

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