Taliban establishes ‘jihadi madrassas’ in five provinces

A Taliban official has said that “jihadi madrassas” have been established in at least five provinces of the country over the past year and that the curriculum for these religious schools has almost been finalized.

The issue was raised in a meeting between Abdul Wahid Tariq, head of Taliban’s jihadi madrassas, and the Taliban’s acting chief minister Mawlawi Abdul Kabir, at the presidential palace in Kabul on Wednesday, June 14, a statement released on Thursday said.

The statement did not mention the name of the provinces where the madrassas have been established. In addition to teaching religious studies, jihadi madrassas have in the past been training centers for suicide bombers. Students were also taught to use weapons at these “schools”.

Tariq shared building plans for the madrassas with Kabir, the statement read adding that the Taliban chief minister said the religious schools should also teach modern sciences so that graduates would be able to work in government institutions.

“The youth … are taught at these madrassas nothing but extremism, suicide, bombing and killing of people,” said Abdul Sattar Hussaini, a former MP.

Last month, the head of the Taliban’s hajj and religious affairs ministry told Amu that almost 300 madrassas had been established in the northeastern province of Takhar in the past two years.

Political analysts are meanwhile concerned that the establishment of religious schools will fuel the spread of extremism among the young generation.

“Establishing of jihadi madrassas means the continuation of a jihadi mindset among Taliban or a paramilitary group that always believes in war, killing and violence and hate,” said Wais Nasiri, a political affairs analyst.

Sources from the Taliban’s ministry of education said 1,200 madrassas are officially registered in Afghanistan. But the number of jihadi madrassas is unknown.

A few months back, the Taliban announced that they planned to build 10 new madrassas in each district. The Taliban has also added 27 new districts to the existing 392 districts of the country. This means that they will build 4,190 new madrassas in all these districts.

This comes as secondary schools remain closed for girls, restricting over one million girls from getting a high school education.