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Amnesty condemns Taliban shooting of teen

Oct. 9, 2012 at 1:08 PM   |   Comments

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MINGORA, Pakistan, Oct. 9 (UPI) -- Human rights groups are condemning a Taliban attack Tuesday aimed at a teenage girl who had pushed the education of girls in Swat Valley, Pakistan.

Malala Yousufzai, the first recipient of Pakistan's National Peace Award, was attacked while returning home from school in Mingora, the region's principle town, Geo News reported.

Yousufzai, who was struck in the head by a bullet, and two other schoolgirls were injured when attackers fired on the vehicle after forcing the driver to pull over, police said. The Taliban attacker forced the other girls in the car to identify Yousufzai, who was the target of the shooting.

A hospital official said Yousufzai underwent an operation and was out of danger.

Amnesty International condemned the shooting "in the strongest possible terms."

"This was a shocking act of violence against a 14-year-old girl who has bravely been fighting for her right to education," said Mustafa Qadri, Amnesty International Pakistan researcher. "We condemn it in the strongest possible terms. This attack highlights the extremely dangerous climate many human rights activists face in northwestern Pakistan, where female activists in particular live under constant threats from the Taliban and other militant groups."

The 14-year-old Yousufzai had received threats and had been provided a special car and unarmed security personnel, Geo News said.

Kids Rights Foundation, an international children's advocacy group, included Yousufzai among its nominees for the International Children's Peace Prize. She is the first Pakistani girl to be nominated.

Using the pseudonym Gul Makai, she kept a diary for the BBC, in which she wrote about the suffering endured under Taliban rule when militants took over Swat Valley and ordered girls' schools to close, the British broadcaster said.

After the Taliban were driven from the area, her real name emerged after she won the country's national award in December and earned the nomination for the children's peace award.

© 2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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