The Taliban in Pakistan has claimed responsibility for shooting a 14-year-old schoolgirl and activist in the head Tuesday for speaking out against the group, The New York Times reports.
Malala Yousufzai attracted attention across the country for blogging on life under Taliban rule and speaking out against the Jihadist group's policies towards women's education.
On the ride home from school Malala's schoolbus was stopped by a bearded man who asked the students which one was Malala, and then opened fire when she was identified. Malala remains alive and in critical condition because the first bullet passed through her skull without damaging her head, a local doctor told the Times. A second girl who was also shot is in stable condition.
Ehanullah Ehsan, a spokesman for the Pakistani Taliban, said the shooting was retribution for her "obscenity."
"She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her ideal leader," Ehsan told Reuters. "She was young but she was promoting Western culture."
Ehsan told a Pakistani paper that if Malala survived, she would be targeted again as a warning to other young people who speak out against the Taliban and its conservative practices.
Malala's activism began when her home region of Pakistan was controlled by the Taliban before 2009. She began writing the "Diary of a Pakistani Schoolgirl" blog for a Urdu-language BBC website under a pseudonym. She described the regime's practice of destroying girls schools and, when the Taliban relinquished local control, began to speak out publicly against the group's policies and advocate for rights for young people and women.
She later received the Pakistani National Peace Award, the country's highest civilian award, for her activism and promotion of peace.
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