Pakistani schoolgirl rattles Taliban

Last Friday, 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in October along with several schoolmates by the Taliban in an attempt to silence her advocacy for girls’ education, addressed the United Nations. With poise and vigor, she renewed her call for education for all children and for human rights, stressing that she was speaking for many.

Her forceful speech drew headlines, and apparently also the attention of the Taliban. Adnan Rasheed, a Taliban leader convicted of trying to assassinate Pakistan’s then-president Pervez Musharraf, wrote a letter in English to Ms. Yousafzai the day after her speech, claiming that he had been “shocked” by the Taliban attack on her, but at the same time chastising her for her “provocative” writings, which he alleged were the reason for the attack. He also said he was writing in a personal capacity and not speaking for the Pakistani Taliban or any other jihadist group.

In the letter, he castigates the UN as being anti-Islam, tries to argue that the Taliban are not actually against female education, takes her to task for not complaining about drone strikes, urges her to join a female Islamic madrassa near her home town, and says she should use her pen instead to “reveal the conspiracy of tiny elite who want to enslave whole of humanity for their evil agendas in the name of new world order.”

Clearly, Rashid recognizes her power. The tone of the letter, sometimes bordering on the avuncular, suggests that the Taliban leader wants to win Malala over to his side. More cynically, it serves as an attempt to distract from her message.

But Rashid is no doting uncle. He is a notorious jihadist with longtime ties to al Qaeda who tried to assassinate then-president Musharraf in 2003, and recently announced the formation of a death squad to attempt again to assassinate him. [See LWJ report, Pakistani Taliban threaten former President Musharraf with ‘death squad’.]

In April 2012, Rashid, who had been imprisoned for the previous assassination attempt, was freed in a massive jailbreak engineered by the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan. Since then, he has appeared in jihadist propaganda tapes, including one featuring the al Qaeda-linked Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, in addition to the video about the creation of the death squad this spring.

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  • Charu says:

    He may have been “shocked” by the shooting, but he also made it clear that she had it coming. Of course the soundbite-seeking media in the West only focused on the first part and made it appear that the Taliban were apologizing for the shooting when nothing could be further from the truth. It was actually a veiled threat to her that if she didn’t shut up and stop her “anti-Islamic activities” then they would finish the job.

  • Michelle McKim says:

    Beyond her years with wisdom. From the mouths of babes comes truth. Both of these statements are true when speaking of this young ladies pleas. We can only hope that she and those who think like her will be the future of humanity. Those cowards who would shoot children to protect their point of view are nothing but animals attacking the weaker of the herd. What means more than anything to me these days is the idea that eventually weakness of physical force will one day be taken over by strength of mental acuity.

  • mike merlo says:

    train & arm these women & children.

  • “He also said he was writing in a personal capacity and not speaking for the Pakistani Taliban or any other jihadist group.”
    ‘…I, myself, personally, wish you no harm–really. However the group that I lead, support, breath, eat, sleep, and dream 24/7…well…. they want to burn your bones and salt the ashes.’

  • filme online says:

    The talibans are very very bad! i see some videos on bestgore with talibans kills for religion:| no comment what i see there.


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