Taliban commander to Malala Yousafzai: Allow me to explain why we tried to kill you

In an open letter, a senior militant accused Yousafzai of running a "smear campaign" against the militant group

By Katie McDonough
Published July 18, 2013 1:13PM (EDT)
Malala Yousufzai
         (AP/Queen Elizabeth Hospita)
Malala Yousufzai (AP/Queen Elizabeth Hospita)

In an open letter to Malala Yousafzai, senior Taliban commander Adnan Rashid urged the 16-year-old education activist to forget about that one time the Taliban tried to murder her and "come back home."

"I advise you to come back home [to Pakistan]. Adopt the Islamic and Pushtun culture, join any female Islamic madrasa near your hometown, study and learn the book of Allah, use your pen for Islam," Rashid wrote.

Yousafzai has spent much of the last year recuperating from the attempted assassination in Britain, where she now lives with her family.

In the four-page letter, Rashid goes on to call the attack on Yousafzi "shocking," saying he wished it had "never happened," though he never apologizes or alludes to it as being wrong.

In fact, he tries to explain to Yousafzi why his fellow militants wanted to murder her.

In the letter, Rashid suggests that Yousafzai was not targeted because of her outspoken advocacy for girls' education, but because others in the Talbian believed she was running a "smear campaign."

"You have said in your [Friday] speech [to the United Nations] that pen is mightier than sword, so they attacked you for your sword not for your books or school," Rashid added.

Yousafzai has not publicly commented on the letter, but said in a speech to the United Nations last week that the attack has strengthened her resolve to fight for girls' education, no matter the obstacle.

“They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed," she said.

h/t NBC News


Katie McDonough

Katie McDonough is Salon's politics writer, focusing on gender, sexuality and reproductive justice. Follow her on Twitter @kmcdonovgh or email her at kmcdonough@salon.com.

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Education Girl's Education Malala Yousafzai Paikistan Taliban Women's Rights