Key Taliban leader reaches out to Malala
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — A prominent Pakistani Taliban commander has written a letter to a teenage girl shot in the head by the group, expressing regrets that he didn't warn her before the assassination attempt that propelled her activism to the international stage.
The letter from Adnan Rasheed, however, didn't apologize for the October attack that left Malala Yousafzai gravely wounded. Rasheed, who has close relations with Taliban leaders, only said that he found the shooting “shocking” and wished it had not happened.
“You have said in your speech yesterday that pen is mightier than sword,” Rasheed wrote in reference to Malala's speech on Friday at the United Nations, “so they attacked you for your sword not for your books or school.”
Rasheed said the letter received by The Associated Press late Tuesday night expressed his own opinion, not that of the militant group. The AP spoke to another Taliban commander on Wednesday who confirmed the letter, written in English, was authentic.
Malala was 15 years old when she and two of her friends were attacked on their way home from school in Pakistan's northwest Swat Valley. The assassination attempt sparked worldwide condemnation. Malala celebrated her 16th birthday last week by giving a speech at the U.N. in New York, telling the body that the attack gave her new courage and demanding world leaders provide free education to all children.
Rasheed said the Taliban did not attack Malala because she was a proponent for girls' education but because she was critical of the militant group when it took over much of Swat in 2008 and 2009. That mirrors what some militants said at the time of the shooting.
Rasheed, who the Taliban broke out of prison last year, said the militants supported both boys and girls going to school as long as they received an Islamic education and didn't study what he called a “satanic or secular curriculum.”
Malala wrote in a blog for the BBC at the time the Taliban controlled Swat about how many students moved out of the valley after the Taliban issued an edict banning girls from school.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Strike on crowded Gaza area kills 16, wounds 150
- Reports include ‘aliens’ as origin of Russian holes
- Israeli leader signals no quick end to Gaza conflict
- Ebola claims hero doctor in Sierra Leone
- Israeli PM warns of ‘prolonged’ campaign in Gaza
- Karzai’s kin killed in suicide bombing
- Real-life ‘Ratatouille’ invade garden of Louvre
- Gaza’s only power plant taken out; utility official says attack ‘catastrophic’ for 1.8 million
- ‘Clear-cut’ path made to jetliner