The 14-year old who frightened the Taliban
MALALA on left-wing platform. Opposing Islamic reaction and imperialism.
TALABAN operating in Pakistan's Swat valley have been credited with a new victim today - a 14 year old schoolgirl who was targetted because she stood up for the rights of women and children, and especially for girl's education.
A gunman walked up to a bus taking children home from school and shot 14-year old Malala Yousufzai in the head and neck. Two other girls were wounded, but it was clearly Malala who was the target.
The teenager was airlifted by helicopter to a military hospital in Peshawar, and there were reports she might be sent abroad for treatment. Several schools in the area stopped for the day in protest at the attack and in sympathy with Malala.
Malala, whose father is a headmaster, began writing a blog when she was just 11 under the pseudonym Gul Makai for the BBC. She opposed the Taliban and championed the need for girls education, which the Islamic extremist movement opposes.
"This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter," said Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan by telephone.
Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf condemned the attack and called her a daughter of Pakistan. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called the shooting "barbaric" and "cowardly."
Leila Zerrougui, the U.N. special representative for children in armed conflict, condemned the attack "in the harshest terms."
''Education is a fundamental right for all children," she said in a statement. The Taliban "must respect the right to education of all children, including girls, to go to school and live in peace."
Malala was nominated last year for the International Children's Peace Prize, which is organized by the Dutch organization KidsRights to highlight the work of children around the world.
But the 14-year old heroine, who knew that her outspoken views would make her a threat and a target for the Taliban, was not just a campaigner for "Western culture", as the media report. She was a supporter of a left-wing movement linked with the International Marxist Tendency, which means she opposes both Islamicist reaction and imperialist control.
Al Qaida and Taliban fighters began spreading from their base in Afghanistan into the Swat valley of Pakistan about five years ago.By 2008 they controlled much of it and began meting out rules and their own brand of justice. During about two years of its rule, the Taliban forced men to grow beards, restricted women from going to the bazaar, whipped women they considered immoral and beheaded opponents.
Taliban militants in the region also destroyed around 200 schools. Most were girls' institutions, though some prominent boys' schools were struck as well. The private school owned and operated by Malala's father was temporarily closed under the Taliban.
At one point, the Taliban said they were halting female education, a move that echoed their militant brethren in neighboring Afghanistan who during their rule barred girls from attending school.
While the Pakistani military managed to flush out the insurgents during the military operation, the Taliban's top leadership escaped.
Link to International Marxist tendency comment: