- The Washington Times - Thursday, July 18, 2013

A senior Taliban commander has purportedly penned a letter to the Pakistani schoolgirl his militant group shot in the head to explain why she was targeted: It wasn’t because she wanted to go to school. It was because she dared to criticize the Taliban.

The letter is genuine, said various Pakistani intelligence officials, CNN said. It’s reported to be written by Adnan Rashid to Malala Yousafzai, 16, and it was released just after the girl — who spent weeks recovering from the point-blank shot to her head — pleaded at a United Nations event for the world to help bring equal education opportunities to her nation.

The letter, reported by CNN: “The Taliban believe you were intentionally writing against them and running a smear campaign to malign their effort to establish an Islamic system in [the] Swat Valley and your writings were provocative. You have said in your speech … that the pen is mightier than the sword. So they attacked you for your sword not your books or school.”

The girl was 15 when gunmen targeted her for attack in October 2012. Her shooting brought worldwide attention to the plight of girls trying to attend school in the face of strict Islamic law.

The letter stated that Taliban militants support women who wish to receive an education, but that education must abide by Islamic law, CNN said. Mr. Rashid also suggested Ms. Yousafzai come back to Pakistan and “use your pen for Islam and the plight of the Muslim community,” CNN reported.