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Sun., Dec. 21
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Taliban savagery

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The Taliban demonstrated its relentless cruelty by shooting a 14-year-old girl who campaigned for girls’ education and childrens’ rights.

The extremists stopped a van transporting Malala Yousafza from school to home Tuesday in Pakistan’s Swat Valley, near the Afghan border. A gunman identified the girl and shot her for promoting the right of girls to attain an education, which clashes with Taliban ideology of keeping girls and women confined at home.

Doctors on Wednesday removed the bullet which had passed through the girl’s head and lodged in her shoulder. She has remained in critical condition this week at a hospital in Peshawar.

The girl has been writing a blog for the BBC since age 11 about life under the Taliban. She used a pseudonym initially, then went public with her criticism of the Taliban.

The Taliban has accepted responsibility for the shooting and vowed to kill her if she survives. Her family is also in danger, according to reports.

Pakistanis have reacted angrily to the attack on the girl, who had become a symbol of courage and opposition to Taliban ideology.

“Malala is our pride. She became an icon for the country,” Interior Minister Rehman Malik said.

Head of the army, Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, visited the hospital where the girl was being treated; he blasted the “twisted ideology” of the “cowards” who attacked her.

The New York Times and other publications report that Pakistanis are outraged over the act.

An editorial in The News International, an English-language daily, said it well: “We are infected with the cancer of extremism, and unless it is cut out we will slide ever further into the bestiality that this latest atrocity exemplifies.”

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