[News] Pakistan Taliban claim responsibility for shooting of 14-year-old girl
October 10, 2012 Leave a comment
A 14-year-old Pakistani girl who campaigned to promote education and expose extremist brutality has been shot in the head by gunmen from the Pakistani Taliban in a retaliatory attack.
Malala Yousafzai was on her way home from school in the former militant stronghold of Swat when two men opened fire, shooting her in the forehead and injuring two other girls. Witnesses said a bearded man had asked for the girl by name before opening fire. Her work earned her international recognition and numerous peace awards after she was revealed as the brave seventh grader who wrote an anonymous blog for the BBC’s Urdu service when the Taliban controlled Swat in 2009. But it also brought death threats. On Tuesday, a spokesman for the Pakistan Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, accusing her of promoting Western, secular values.
“This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter,” he said. “We have carried out this attack.”
The attack on the young girl has shocked Pakistan, a nation long hardened to sickening acts of violence.
Mian Iftikhar Husing Husain, the local information minister, said: “It is the sign of weakness of Taliban that they have been targeting females.”
Doctors at the Saidu Sharif Medical Complex in Mingora said Malala would be transferred to a hospital in the north-western city of Peshawar for further treatment but all three girls were in a stable condition.
Malalai – whose name means “grief-stricken” in the local Pashto language – was 11 when the Taliban took over the Swat Valley and ordered girls’ schools to close.
Pakistan’s shaky government appeared to appease the hardline militants, signing a ceasefire in 2009 and leaving Maulana Fazlullah, a cleric, to preside over the area.
Malala’s anonymous blog is credited with being one of the first voices to alert the world to his brutal campaign of beheadings and violence.
In it, she described how her terrified classmates were forced to hide books under their shawls and lived in fear of having acid thrown in their faces.
She continued to keep her diary when the Pakistani military eventually launched an offensive against the militants.
“I heard my father talking about another three bodies lying at Green Chowk,” she wrote. “I felt bad on hearing this news. Before the launch of the military operation we all used to go to Marghazar, Fiza Ghat and Kanju for picnics on Sundays. But now the situation is such that we have not been out on picnic for over a year and a half.” The Pakistan army finally drove the Taliban insurgency from Swat in July 2009.
Since then she has campaigned for more girls to have the chance to go to school.
In an interview earlier this year, she described her motivation.
“I was scared enough to see pictures of bodies hanging in Swat. But the decision to ban girls from going to school was shocking for me and I decided to stand against the forces of backwardness,” she said. Telegraph