Pakistani Interior Minister: Taliban Gunman Who Shot 14-Year-Old Girl Identified

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 3:55 pm (UTC-5)
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Pakistan's interior minister, Rehman Malik, says the Taliban gunman who gravely wounded a 14-year-old girl for speaking out for education for women has been identified and will soon be arrested.

Malik says Malala Yousufzai is out of danger after doctors removed the bullet, but is still unable to travel overseas for more treatment.

He said anyone who still supports the Taliban in the Swat Valley should stop, saying Islam does not allow such attacks on children.

Pakistani military chief General Ashfaq Kayani visited Yousufzai's hospital and called her attackers cowards who have little regard for human life. He also accused them of targeting children in the past.

A spokesperson for United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says Mr. Ban is outraged at what he calls a heinous and cowardly act. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton praised Yousufzai's bravery and said Islamic militants feel threatened when women are empowered.

Schools in Swat Valley closed Wednesday to protest the shooting. Demonstrators also marched in Islamabad, Peshawar and other Pakistani cities.

A Taliban gunman climbed aboard Yousufzai's bus Tuesday and shot her in the head. Two other children were also wounded. The gunman fled.

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

A Taliban spokesman said Yousufzai is pro-West and called U.S. President Barack Obama her idol.

Yousufzai 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.