In a new low, the Taliban proudly took responsibility for shooting a 14-year-old Pakistani girl in the head — because she thinks females should be educated.
Malala Yousufazi — an activist who has been shining a light on Taliban atrocities since she was just 11 — was ambushed on a school bus Tuesday in the turbulent Swat Valley.
She survived the shocking assassination attempt because the bullet that crashed through her skull missed her brain, doctors said.
The Islamic militants wasted no time boasting they had targeted the girl for death, calling her an “infidel.”
“This was a new chapter of obscenity, and we have to finish this chapter,” Taliban spokesman Ahsanullah Ahsan told The Associated Press. “We have carried out this attack.”
Malala first began speaking out through a blog written under a pseudonym when the Taliban occupied the valley in 2008.
The Pakistani army swept out the Taliban in 2009, ending a reign of terror that included beheadings, whippings and the destruction of 200 girls’ schools.
Malala continued to stand up to the insurgents, advocating for girls’ rights. She headed a session of UNICEF children’s assembly last year and was nominated for an International Children’s Peace Prize.
On Tuesday, she had just left school and boarded a bus with other children when a bearded man got on and asked for her by name.
Another girl pointed to Malala and the gunman shot both of them. Both were expected to survive.
“A bullet struck her head, but the brain is safe,” Dr. Taj Mohammed said of Malala. “She is out of danger.”
“The bullet struck her skull and came out on the other side and hit her shoulder,” Dr. Lal Noor told Agence France-Presse.
After she was stabilized, Malala was flown by helicopter from the local hospital in Mingora to a military hospital in Peshawar.
“She is all right,” her father, teacher Zia Uddin Yousafazi, told the Washington Post. “Please pray for her early recovery and health.”
Top Pakistani officials swiftly condemned the shooting — which raised questions about security in the region.
“We have to fight the mindset that is involved in this. We have to condemn it,” Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf said.
“Malala is like my daughter, and yours too. If that mindset prevails, then whose daughter would be safe?”
Kamila Hayat of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan said the Taliban attacked Malala to stop other girls from fighting for their rights.
“This is an attack to silence courage through a bullet,” Hayat said. “These are the forces who want to take us to the dark ages.”