Leaders from around the world have condemned the shooting of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, an education and rights activist in the northwestern Pakistani region of Swat.
Yousafzai was shot by Taliban gunmen on Tuesday in her hometown of Mingora while on her way home from school.
Ehsanullah Ehsan, a Pakistani Taliban spokesperson, said the group had repeatedly warned Yousafzai to stop speaking out against them.
“She is a Western-minded girl. She always speaks against us,” he said by telephone from an undisclosed location.
“We will target anyone who speaks against the Taliban.
“We warned her several times to stop speaking against the Taliban and to stop supporting Western non-governmental organisations, and to come to the path of Islam.”
|HILLARY CLINTON, US SECRETARY OF STATE|
Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State said that the attack should serve as a call to action for those promoting the rights of women and girls.
Speaking Wednesday, Clinton said the shooting of Malala Yousufzai should galvanise support for “brave young women … who struggle against tradition and culture and even outright hostility, and sometimes violence” to pursue their rights. She blamed the attack on extremists who are threatened by girls’ empowerment.
Clinton said the “attack reminds us of the challenges that girls face, whether it is poverty or marginalisation or even violence just for speaking out for their basic rights”.
Jay Carney, US President Barack Obama’s spokesperson, said that Obama saw the shooting of Yousafzai as “barbaric” and has offered air ambulance services to help evacuate her.
“I know that the president found the news reprehensible and disgusting and tragic,” Carney said, adding that US forces were ready to offer transport and treatment to Malala Yousafzai if appropriate.
|BAN KI-MOON, UN SECRETARY-GENERAL|
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon expressed outrage and the strongest condemnation over the shooting.
The UN chief called Tuesday’s attack a “heinous and cowardly act”, UN spokesperson Martin Nesirky said.
Ban urged that the perpetrators be swiftly brought to justice and expressed solidarity with Pakistan’s efforts to confront violent extremism, he said.
Nesirky said on Wednesday that the secretary-general was deeply moved by Malala’s “courageous efforts” to promote education, a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
He said Ban is writing to her family to express his hope for her full and speedy recovery, and expresses sympathy to the two other girls injured in the attack.
|CATHERINE ASHTON, EU FOREIGN POLICY CHIEF|
Catherine Ashton, the EU’s foreign policy representative slammed the Taliban for shooting Yousafzai, in what she described as “a vile aggression”.
Ashton said in a statement that she was “appalled” the teenager had been attacked for advocating girls’ rights.
“Malala’s bravery in one so young and the principled stand she has taken are a source of admiration for all of us,” Ashton said.
“This vile aggression is an assault both on basic human values and against all human rights defenders in Pakistan.”
|HAMID KARZAI, AFGHAN PRESIDENT|
Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, telephoned Asif Ali Zardari, his Pakistani counterpart, on Wednesday evening to condemn the attack.
He expressed grief and shock over the attack which he called “cowardly”.