Pakistan Taliban's letter to Malala Yousafzai: We tried to kill you because you were smearing our cause - but we regret attack
A leading commander of the Pakistani Taliban has written to Malala Yousafzai – the 16-year-old schoolgirl and education advocate who survived a near-fatal assassination attempt last October – to express his regret at the attack.
The letter is written by Adnan Rashid, a prominent member of the Pakistani Taliban who joined the militant group after a career as a technician in the Pakistan Air Force.
“When you were attacked, it was shocking for me,” wrote Mr Rashid, according to the letter published by Channel 4. “I wished it would never happened[sic] and I had advised you before.”
The 1,863-word letter, dated 15 July, doesn’t condemn the incident, however. Mr Rashid also declines to say whether the attempt to kill Malala was “Islamically correct or wrong, or you were deserved to be killed or not”. Instead, he writes, “Leave it to Allah… He is the best judge.”
In 2012, the Pakistani Taliban sprang Mr Rashid out of Bannu jail along with nearly 400 other militants. In the letter to Malala, Mr Rashid makes a fleeting reference to his escape. In 2005, he had been given a death sentence for his involvement in a plot to assassinate former military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.
Throughout the letter, Mr Rashid is by turns conciliatory, defensive and belligerent. He wants to reassure Malala that she wasn’t targeted for demanding education. “It is amazing you are Shouting[sic] for education,” he writes. Malala’s real offence was not her calls for schooling, he writes, but “running a smear campaign to malign” the Taliban.
Mr Rashid also accuses Malala of using her writing in a “provocative” way, which he says is a form of violence. “You are using your tongue on the behest of others,” Mr Rashid writes, echoing widespread and lurid conspiracy theories about Malala. “You must know that if the pen is mightier than the sword, then the tongue is sharper… and in wars, the tongue is more destructive than any weapon.”
The Taliban commander adopts an almost wounded tone when trying to respond to the list of the militants’ crimes. He writes that the Taliban alone are not responsible for blowing up schools, blaming the Pakistan army for using them as bases, and venal local officials for allegedly staging school explosions to siphon off cash.
The former Pakistan air force technician also tries to defend the gruesome murders of polio vaccination teams across the country, invoking anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. Nearly 20 polio workers have been killed in recent months. Pakistan remains one of just three countries where polio is still an epidemic, with nearly 60 cases reported last year.
Mr Rashid didn’t write the letter on behalf of the Taliban, he was careful to stress, but in a “personal capacity”. He ends it by inviting Malala back to Pakistan, and to join a local madrassa for girls.
Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York last Friday, Malala – who is considered a contender for the Nobel Peace Prize – said books and pens frighten extremists, and urged education for all, including “for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all the terrorists”.
She has not commented publically on the letter.
- 1 Home Office says Nigerian asylum-seeker can’t be a lesbian as she’s got children
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 4 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
- 5 Apple and Google users being spied on for a decade because of 'Freak' security flaw
The City of the Monkey God: Archaeologists claim to have found city lost for 1,000 years in remote Honduran jungle
Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway amid dense fog
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Bubonic plague-carrying fleas found on New York City rats
London property boom built on dirty money
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£7 per hour: Recruitment Genius: A vacancy has arisen for a General Processor ...
£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity has arisen ...
£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...
£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...