Taliban Shoots 14-Year-Old Girl In The Head For Advocating For Women’s Education In Pakistan


HUFFINGTON POST: Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai was admired across a battle-scarred region of Pakistan for exposing the Taliban’s atrocities and advocating for girls’ education in the face of religious extremists. On Tuesday, the Taliban nearly killed her to quiet her message. A gunman walked up to a bus taking children home from school in the volatile northern Swat Valley and shot Malala in the head and neck. Another girl on the bus was also wounded. The young activist was airlifted by helicopter to a military hospital in the frontier city of Peshawar. A doctor in the city of Mingora, Tariq Mohammad, said her wounds weren’t life-threatening, but a provincial information minister said after a medical board examined the girl that the next few days would be crucial. Malala began writing a blog when she was just 11 under the pseudonym Gul Makai for the BBC about life under the Taliban, and began speaking out publicly in 2009 about the need for girls’ education – which the Taliban strongly opposes. The extremist movement was quick to claim responsibility for shooting her.”This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter,” Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan by telephone. The shooting provoked outrage across the country, angering Pakistanis who have seen a succession of stories about violence against women by the Taliban. MORE

NBC NEWS: Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for writing a blog about daily life in the war-torn Swat Valley, was still in a critical condition Wednesday after surgery to remove a bullet, her surgeon told NBC News. Doctors said her head, face and neck started swelling Tuesday night, prompting doctors to call an emergency meeting at 1 a.m. Wednesday (4 p.m. ET) when they decided to operate on her. Surgery at the Combined Military Hospital in Peshawar started at 2 a.m. and was completed at 5 a.m. Wednesday (5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday ET). The doctors’ panel treating Malala, which includes military and civilian staff, is led by senior neurosurgeon Mumtaz Khan. Talking to NBC News after the surgery, Khan said Malala’s brain had started swelling as its left portion was damaged by the bullet. He said they operated on the damaged part of her brain and neck and removed the bullet from her body. “Malala is still in critical condition and had been shifted to the intensive care unit of the hospital, but I am optimistic and by the grace of Allah she will recover,” Khan said. In her blog, Malala chronicled life in the Swat Valley under the brutal and oppressive rule of the local faction of the Pakistani Taliban, who carried out public floggings, hung dead bodies in the streets, and banned education for girls. MORE

RELATED: The Swat Valley – nicknamed the Switzerland of Pakistan – was once a popular tourist destination for Pakistanis. Honeymooners used to vacation in the numerous hotels dotted along the river of the same name running through it. But the Taliban’s near-total takeover of the valley just 175 miles (280 kilometers) from the capital in 2008 shocked many Pakistanis, who considered militancy to be a far-away problem in Afghanistan or Pakistan’s rugged tribal regions. Militants began asserting their influence in the valley in 2007 – part of a wave of al-Qaida and Taliban fighters expanding their reach from safe havens near the Afghan border. By 2008 they controlled much of it and began meting out rules and their own brand of justice. During about two years of its rule, the Taliban forced men to grow beards, restricted women from going to the bazaar, whipped women they considered immoral and beheaded opponents. Taliban militants in the region also destroyed around 200 schools. Most were girls’ institutions, though some prominent boys’ schools were struck as well. The private school owned and operated by Malala’s father was temporarily closed under the Taliban. At one point, the Taliban said they were halting female education, a move that echoed their militant brethren in neighboring Afghanistan who during their rule barred girls from attending school. MORE

RELATED: Mini-Documentary About Malala Yousufzai

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RELATED: The Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) which attacked National Award Peace winner Malala Yousafzai on Tuesday have said that they will target her again if she survives because she was a “secular-minded lady”. A TTP spokesperson told The Express Tribune that this was a warning for all youngsters who were involved in similar activites and added that they will be targeted if they do not stop. Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan said his group was behind the shooting. “She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her idol,” Ehsan said by telephone from an undisclosed location. MORE