Malala, 14, and several of her classmates were shot earlier this month by Taliban gunmen in her hometown of Mingora, Pakistan. Malala blogged about attending school despite the Taliban’s opposition; a Taliban spokesperson told The New York Times she was targeted because she’d “become a symbol of Western culture in the area.” Earlier this week, she was flown to a hospital in Birmingham, England, that specializes in trauma cases.
One of her doctors told CNN he believes she’ll be able to talk after a tracheotomy tube is removed.
The Taliban “didn’t appear to have anticipated the level of revulsion and condemnation” that greeted its shooting-teenage-girls initiative, CNN reports. It “issued lengthy statements” justifying the decision.
They also complained that “this filthy, godless media has taken huge advantage of this situation, and journalists have started passing judgment on us,” raising the prospect of killing those journalists.
Shaan Khan and Jethro Mullen write that “The militants’ threats against journalists for covering an attack for which they had unabashedly claimed responsibility may seem contradictory.”
But it goes to the heart of the Taliban’s approach, according to Mustafa Qadri, Pakistan researcher for the human rights group Amnesty International.
“The underlying thing to understand is the Taliban only have one modus operandi: violence,” said Qadri, who is based in Britain but travels to Pakistan regularly. “They use it to intimidate people and coerce them into doing what they want.”
The Taliban has been contacting local journalists telling them they are being targeted, Pakistani TV anchor Hamid Mir told Committee to Protect Journalists’ Sumit Galhotra and Bob Dietz.
“This is the second email from the Taliban in 24 hours. They are freely using emails, calling our colleagues on their mobile phones and the government is doing nothing except telling us ‘The Taliban will kill you.’ “
The police have offered journalists protection, Mir said. Pakistan is No. 10 on CPJ’s “impunity index” of countries where journalists can be murdered without much fear of reprisal.