Taliban Gunmen Shoot Pakistani Teen Activist

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 3:15 pm (UTC-5)
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Taliban gunmen in Pakistan have shot and wounded a 14-year-old child activist who became famous for speaking out against the militant group.

Malala Yousufzai was shot twice while boarding her school bus Tuesday in Swat Valley.

Witnesses said gunmen who came to the school asked for Yousufzai by name before opening fire. She was shot in the head and neck, but doctors say her injuries are not life-threatening.

Two other girls were wounded.


The doctor who treated Yousufzai, Shah Dawran, spoke to VOA (Deewa Radio).

“I myself examined her physically; the patient was in shortness of breath but in conscious condition, complaining of pain. The patient was treated for emergency needs, then shifted to (surgical) Operation Theater in the hospital. From there, she was dispatched to circuit house and then taken to Peshawar for further treatment.”

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting. A spokesman said Yousufzai was “pro-West, speaking out against the Taliban, and calling U.S. President Barack Obama her idol.”

Yousufzai is internationally recognized for documenting atrocities committed by the Taliban in the area near her home. She wrote under a pseudonym – Gul Makai – in a blog published by the BBC.

The girl described life under the Taliban in 2008 and 2009, when militants carried out beheadings and other violence in the territory they controlled – large areas of the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Her uncle, Ahmed Shah Yousufzai, is president of the Swat Valley Peace Council. He told VOA no one expected that such a vicious attack would be carried out against Malala Yousufzai, and that people in the area are once again “terrified.”

“People once again are terrified; they are scared that the situation is getting worse. Until now, people were hopeful that peace has been restored. Yes, in Swat we witnessed targeted killing time after time, but no one was expecting a ninth-grade student would be targeted this brutally.”

Pakistani Prime Minister Raza Pervez Ashraf and President Asif Ali Zardari both condemned the shooting.

In Washington, U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland also condemned the attack on Yousufzai. She told reporters that “directing violence against children is barbaric.”