Taliban shoot 14-year-old female activist

The Taliban have taken vengeance on a girl who spoke out against them

By Prachi Gupta

Published October 9, 2012 8:14PM (EDT)

A Taliban gunman walked up to a school bus and shot a 14-year-old girl, Malala Yousufzai, in the head and neck and wounded another girl in Pakistan's Swat Valley. It seems that Yousufzai was the Taliban's target: She was an outspoken activist against the Taliban, penning a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC about life under their rule, and she had spoken out in support of women's education. The AP reports:

In her BBC blog, Malala wrote about not wearing her uniform to school after officials warned it might attract the Taliban's attention, and how many other students moved out of the valley after the Taliban issued an edict banning girls from school. She wrote about how the Taliban movement had kept her family from going out after sunset.

While chairing a children's assembly supported by UNICEF in the valley last year, the then-13-year-old championed a greater role for young people.

"Girl members play an active role," she said, according to an article on the U.N. organization's website. "We have highlighted important issues concerning children, especially promoting girls' education in Swat."

The Taliban did not seem remorseful over the attack, and they were quick to take credit: "This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter," said Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan.

The rest of the country, however, is in an outrage. Pakistan Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf condemned the attack, calling Yousufzai a daughter of Pakistan. She was air-lifted to a military hospital and is expected to live.

The news comes days after the twelfth anniversary of the United States' involvement in Afghanistan, when U.S. Generals admitted that they had given up on "coercing the Taliban into any kind of agreement that would hold up."


Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on pop culture. Follow her on Twitter at @prachigu or email her at pgupta@salon.com.

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