14-Year-Old Blogger, Peace Prize Winner Shot by Taliban
Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old girl who won Pakistan’s first National Peace Prize, was shot and wounded on her return from school Tuesday in Swat Valley. The Pakistani Taliban have claimed responsibility for the attack, which has been condemned by the country’s president.
The teenager has been the subject of frequent death threats, because she blogs about the Taliban’s restrictions on education for women.
A Taliban spokesperson, Insnaullah Ishan, told CNN Yousafzai was targeted for spreading feminist messages.
“She wanted to make our women leave their homes for secular education, something the Taliban will never permit,” Ishan said.
Yousafzai was injured when armed militants stopped a van carrying her and other female students home from school. Once the National Prize winner was identified, the men began shooting at her, until the driver sped off. Two other passengers, in addition to Yousafzai, were hit by the shots.
One of the bullets hit Yousafzai’s neck, which doctors say will be difficult to remove. She was airlifted from Swat at the request of the Prime Minister to a large hospital in Peshawar. If the 14-year-old survives the attack, which doctors suggest is likely, the Taliban say she won’t next time.
In Yousafzai’s blog, which has reached the eyes of readers around the world, she explains the fear of going to school amid fear of Taliban attacks. She hides her books under her bed, fearing a house search, which the Taliban would conduct to investigate whether she is watching TV or studying. The group had banned girls from attaining formal education in the Swat region where the teen lives and which remained under Taliban control until a 2009 military operation.
“I had a terrible dream yesterday with military helicopters and the Taliban,” she wrote in January 2009. “I have had such dreams since the launch of the military operation in Swat. My mother made me breakfast and I went off to school. I was afraid going to school because the Taliban had issued an edict banning all girls from attending schools.”
In November 2011, she earned the National Peace Prize, winning 500,000 rupees ($5,780), which will now be awarded annually to children and teens under 18 contributing to education and peace building.
The below clip from Pakistan’s Express Tribune interviews some survivors of the attack.
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