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Taliban Leader Says He Regrets the Shooting of Teen Activist

Taliban Leader Says He Regrets the Shooting of Teen Activist

Last week, Malala Yousafzai gave a stirring speech at the U.N., telling the gathered leaders that education was an essential right for children around the world. Last October, 16-year-old Malala was shot in the head by the Taliban in Pakistan, who have frequently threatened and attacked girls who attend school in the country. Her powerful speech, less than a year after the assassination attempt, gained international attention, and the young activist is now a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize. This week, the Taliban responded. A letter to Malala from a Pakistan Taliban leader, posted online here, says that he regrets the attack. “I wished it would never happened[sic] and I had advised you before.” However, despite expressing remorse for the attack, the Taliban commander never apologizes for the shooting, and still makes some terrible, irrational claims in the letter, citing anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and advocating the murders of vaccination teams working in Pakistan. He even writes that the Taliban is threatened by her activism, and hints that she brought the shooting on herself, “You have said in your speech yesterday that pen is mightier than sword, so they attacked you for your sword not for your books or school.”

Though the letter, which seems to acknowledge the powerful impact of the Malala’s activism, is somewhat unheard of from a Taliban commander, U.N. officials say the group still poses a threat to girls seeking education in the country. Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, who now works as a U.N. special envoy on global education, said, “Nobody will believe a word the Taliban say about the right of girls like Malala to go to school until they stop burning down schools and stop massacring pupils” …

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