In a letter to a Pakistani schoolgirl shot in the head on her way home from school, a senior Taliban commander purportedly tells her that she was targeted not because she advocated education for all girls, but rather for her criticism of the militant group.
The letter attributed to Adnan Rashid was released just days after 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai took the stage at the United Nations, where she delivered an emotional plea for the right to go to school on behalf of all children.
Malala was 15 when gunmen jumped on her school bus and shouted her name, scaring
other girls into identifying her, in the Swat Valley on October 9, 2012. The attack sparked massive protests in Pakistan and condemnation worldwide.
“The Taliban believe you were intentionally writing against them and running a smear campaign to malign their effort to establish an Islamic system in (the) Swat Valley, and your writings were provocative,” according to the letter, which was dated Monday and released to CNN by a Pakistan intelligence source.
“You have said in your speech … that the pen is mightier than the sword. So they attacked you for your sword not your books or school.”
Rashid made headlines last year after the Taliban broke him out of a Bannu prison, where he was serving a life sentence following his 2003 conviction for his role in the attempted murder of former President Pervez Musharraf. Nearly 400 prisoners were freed in the jailbreak, which authorities believe was staged to get Rashid out, a former Pakistani Air Force officer.
In the letter, Rashid said he was writing — not as a Taliban leader — to say he was shocked by the shooting, and to express his regret that he did not warn Malala ahead of time of the attack.
The letter went on to say that the Taliban supports the education of women, as long as it adheres to Islamic law.
CNN left out the parts where Rashid lays the blame for modern education in the region on the British, Jews, and Freemasons. Religion does indeed poison everything. The Daily Beast has posted the letter for anyone that wants to read it all.
And in case you missed it, here’s Malala’s speech at the U.N.