Taliban tells Malala to ‘end smear campaign, return home’

18 Jul 2013


Malala YousafzaiA senior Pakistani Taliban commander has written to Malala Yousafzai, the teenage Pakistani student who was shot by militants and has now become a global education icon, accusing her of "smearing" them and of promoting "satanic" values.

Gunmen from the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) shot Malala, now 16, in the head in her home town in Swat last October after she had campaigned for the right of girls to go to school.

In an open letter released on Wednesday, Adnan Rasheed, a former Pakistan Air Force officer-turned TTP member, urged Malala to return home and join a women's madrasa if she wished to be educated.

Malala made a powerful speech to the UN on Friday (See: Education a must, Pak Taliban victim Malala Yousafzai tells UN) in her first public appearance since the near-fatal attack, vowing to continue her struggle for education and not be silenced by the militants.

Rasheed in his letter said he personally wished the attack had not happened, but accused her of running a "smearing campaign" against the militants.

"When you were attacked it was shocking for me," Rasheed wrote in English. "I wished it would never happened (sic) and I had advised you before."

But he added, "Taliban believe that you were intentionally writing against them and running a smearing campaign to malign their efforts to establish Islamic system in Swat and your writings were provocative.

"... It is amazing that you are shouting for education, you and the UNO (United Nations Organisation) is pretending that you were shot due to education, although this is not the reason ... not the education but your propaganda was the issue," he continued.

"What you are doing now, you are using your tongue on the behest of the others."

The letter was sent to reporters in northwest Pakistan and its authenticity confirmed to AFP by a senior Taliban cadre who is a close associate of Rasheed. It is understood Malala has not received the letter herself.

Rasheed accused Malala of seeking to promote an education system begun by British colonialists to produce "Asians in blood but English in taste", and said students should study Islam and not the "satanic or secular curriculum".

"I advise you to come back home, adopt the Islamic and Pashtun culture, join any female Islamic madrassa near your home town, study and learn the book of Allah, use your pen for Islam and plight of Muslim ummah (community)," Rasheed wrote.

Malala was given life-saving treatment in Britain, where she now lives with her family.

Rasheed was sentenced to death over a 2003 attack on Pakistan's then military ruler Pervez Musharraf, but escaped from custody in a mass jailbreak in April last year.

The Taliban have destroyed hundreds of schools across the Pakistan northwest, an area on the frontline of the country's bloody struggle against Islamist militants.

But Rasheed said the attacks were necessary because government forces used schools as hideouts and bases.

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