Shot Pakistani girl a spy of the West, says Taliban
THE MILITANT Islamic fundamentalist Taliban who shot a 14-year-old Pakistani school girl described her yesterday as a “spy of the West” whom they attacked, not because she favoured education for girls, but because she defamed them and their war.
“She used to propagate against mujahideen [holy warriors] to defame [the] Taliban. The Quran says that people propagating against Islam and Islamic forces would be killed,” the Taliban said in a statement.
“We targeted her because she would speak against the Taliban while sitting with shameless strangers and idealised the biggest enemy of Islam, Barack Obama.”
The girl, Malala Yousufzai, was shot in the head and upper body when gunmen stopped and boarded a bus on which she was travelling near her home in Pakistan’s Swat Valley.
They singled her out from other children on the bus before shooting her and injuring other children.
Pakistani surgeons later removed a bullet from her head and near her spine, and on Monday she was flown to Birmingham for further treatment.
Before her transfer, doctors said her vital organs were intact and they were hopeful she would make a full recovery.
It emerged yesterday that following her arrival in the UK, two people tried to visit her in hospital, falsely claiming they were members of her family.
“A number of people turned up claiming to be members of Malala’s family which we don’t believe to be true,” said Dr Dave Rosser, the hospital’s medical director. “They didn’t get very far. Security is well under control.”
West Midland Police said that the people, who they described as well-wishers, were stopped and questioned by officers who “recorded their details and advised the pair that they would not be allowed to see her”.
Dr Rosser said medics at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital were impressed with Malala’s “strength and resilience”.
“There’s a long way to go and she is not out of the woods yet . . . but at this stage we’re optimistic that things are going in the right direction,” he added.
Pakistan’s president, Asif Ali Zardari, yesterday described the shooting as an attack on all girls in his country and on civilisation itself.
“The Taliban attack on the 14-year-old girl, who from the age of 11 was involved in the struggle for education for girls, is an attack on all girls in Pakistan, an attack on education, and on all civilised people,” Mr Zardari said at an economic summit in the Azerbaijani capital, Baku.
“The work that she led was higher before God than what terrorists do in the name of religion. We will continue her shining cause. Terrorists should not have an impact on our future. We ourselves must determine our future,” he added.
In their statement, the Taliban said Malala was now being rewarded in the West for her “spying”.
“For this espionage, infidels gave her awards and rewards. And Islam orders killing of those who are spying for enemies ... We did not attack her for raising voice for education. We targeted her for opposing mujahideen and their war ... Shariah [Islamic law] says that even a child can be killed if he is propagating against Islam.”
Doctors in Birmingham say Malala has every chance of making a good recovery but will need reconstructive surgery.