Maulana Sami ul-Haq: Father of the Taliban

  • Tuesday, Jan 27, 2009
  • This is CSIS Post-Conflict Reconstruction (PCR) Project the third in our series on poorly understood religious leaders:

    Maulana Sami ul-Haq: Father of the Taliban with Imtiaz Ali, Special Correspondent, Washington Post

    moderated by
    Arnaud de Borchgrave, Director and Senior Adviser, Transnational Threats Project, CSIS

    "Maulana Sami ul-Haq is the director and chancellor of Pakistan's famous madrassa, Darul uloom Haqqania, Akora Khattak. He has served in this post since the death of his father, Maulana Abdul ul-Haq, the founder of the madrassa, in 1988. Darul uloom Haqqania is where many of the top Taliban leaders, including its fugitive chief, Mullah Omar, attended. It is widely believed that the madrassa was the launching pad for the Taliban movement in the early 1990s, which is why Sami ul-Haq is also called the "Father of the Taliban." Besides running his madrassa, Maulana Sami has a long political history as a religious politician. He was among the founders of Pakistan's Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA) coalition of six Islamic religious parties." For this and more, including an interview with Maulana Sami ul-Haq by Imtiaz Ali, please see:

    Multimedia from previous events in this series can be found at the following links:


    Imtiaz Ali is a Pakistani journalist working as a special correspondent for the Washington Post, reporting on al-Qaeda and Taliban in the country's volatile tribal region. Ali also writes for the Jamestown Foundation CTC Sentinel, West Point, and Yale Global Online. He is a consultant with the DC-based Terror Free Tomorrow. Before this he worked with the BBC Pashtu Service and London's Telegraph for six years. Ali has also written for Pakistan's premier English dailies, The News and Dawn. Since 9/11, he has reported extensively on the rising Taliban's militancy and Pakistan's military operations against al-Qaeda operatives and their local tribesmen supporters  in the tribal regioin. Born and raised in a traditional Pashtun family in Pakistan's North-West Frontier Province, Ali earned his master's degrees in journalism and political science from the University of Peshawar. He is a Yale World Fellow at Yale University and  was a Knight Journalism Fellow at Stanford University 2006-7.

    During a 30-year career at Newsweek magazine, Arnaud de Borchgrave covered most of the world's major news events, including 18 wars. At 21, he was appointed Brussels bureau chief of United Press International (UPI), and three years later, he was named Newsweek's bureau chief in Paris. At 27, he became senior editor of the magazine, a position he held for 25 years. He was appointed editor-in-chief of the Washington Times in 1985. He left his post with the Washington Times in 1991 to join CSIS as a senior adviser and director of the Global Organized Crime Project, which became the Transnational Threats Project after 9/11. He has served as president and CEO of UPI (1999–2001) and continues to serve as editor-at-large for both UPI and the Washington Times. His awards include "Best Magazine Reporting from Abroad" and "Best Magazine Interpretation of Foreign Affairs." In 1981, de Borchgrave received the World Business Council's Medal of Honor, and in 1985, he was awarded the George Washington Medal of Honor for Excellence in Published Works. In 2007, the Phillips Foundation honored de Borchgrave with its Lifetime Achievement Award. At CSIS, he has coauthored Open Source Information: The Missing Dimension of Intelligence (2006); Cyber Threats and Information Security: Meeting the 21st Century Challenge (2001); Russian Organized Crime and Corruption: Putin's Challenge (2000); Cybercrime, Cyberterrorism, Cyberwarfare: Averting an Electronic Waterloo (1998); and The Nuclear Black Market (1996).

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