Taliban shooting of 14-year old sparks outrage in Pakistan
Hundreds of people took to the streets to show their anti-Islamist sentiment after the Pakistani Taliban took responsibility for shooting a 14-year-old Pakistani girl in the head.
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Chief of Army Staff Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited Malala at the hospital and described the attack on Malala “heinous” and said it exposed an “extremist mindset” in Pakistan – the Pakistani Taliban has also beheaded Pakistani soldiers and threatened attacks on the military.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Talking to the Taliban
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Back in Swat
Schools in Swat closed in protest against the killing. Some 200 people from Pakistan’s civil society showed up at a vigil in front of Lahore Press Club in Pakistan's cultural capital. Hundreds also gathered for protests across the country – including Pakistan's political and commercial capitals, Karachi and Islamabad.
The Pakistani Taliban gained significant control of Swat, once known for its peaceful ski resorts and vacations spots for Islamabad’s elite, in 2006 and occupied it from March to May 2009: the same period that Malala wrote a blog under a pseudonym for BBC Urdu.
The Pakistani military pushed out the TTP from Swat during an operation in May 2009 that killed 1,200 Taliban fighters and 90 Pakistani soldiers, according to the Pakistan Army. The operation was declared a success by the Army, and it’s still under the Army control, though that hasn’t stopped such attacks from happening.
Where is the way forward?
Pakistan continues to debate whether the acts of violence by Islamist militants require a political or a military solution. Mr. Khan advocates political negotiations, arguing that military approaches only increases militancy.
However, the TTP is widely considered to be splintered after a 2009 drone attack killed its leader, Baitullah Mehsud, in the Zangar area of South Waziristan, prompting a leadership crisis. The group’s divisions and splintering makes it more difficult to identify central leadership or cells.
Security analyst Ayesha Siddiqa questions the notion that the splinters make too much of a difference: "All these Islamist groups are inter-related. You cannot see the TTP separately from, for example, the Haqqani network, which we all know has links to the Pakistani Army. If our security forces are serious about dealing with the TTP they need to deal with all of these groups, and in a holistic manner,” says Ms. Siddiqa.
“For everyone who seems to think Malala's assassination attempt is some 'moment' – Pakistan had lots of them and guess what happened? Nothing,” tweeted journalist at Pakistan's Express Tribune, Saba Imtiaz, in reaction to a raging debate on Pakistan's social media after the news of Malala's shooting reached the rest of the country.