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Thousands of Pakistan "Religious" Students Join Taliban Fighting

Thousands of religious school students from Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) have crossed the border to Afghanistan to join the fundamentalist Taliban militia.

The AFP reported that one school, the Darul Allom Haqqania seminary, sent more than 2,000 students to participate in the Taliban's jihad (holy war) during a two-day period last week. Hundreds of other religious schools have sent recruits as well.

The influx of students came shortly after Taliban leader Mulla Mohammad Omar sent a delegation to Akaora Khatak. The Pakistani Senate in Islamabad discussed the issue on Friday and agreed that Minister for Religious Affairs, Raja Zafarul Haq, would bring the matter before the interior minister. Haq pledged that Pakistan would not interfere with Afghanistan's internal affairs. Senator Bashir Matta argued that by allowing students from Pakistan's religious schools to join the Taliban, Pakistan is interfering in Afghanistan's internal conflict.

Media Resources: Agence France Press - August 13, 1999



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