Days after Malala Yousufzai made a passionate appeal at the UN for the education of children, the Taliban today asked the teenage activist to return to Pakistan and join a madrassa in the restive northwest.
Adnan Rashid, a Taliban fighter wanted for an attempt to assassinate former President Pervez Musharraf, wrote a letter to Malala, who was shot in the head in a militant attack last year.
"I advise you to come back home, adopt the Islamic and Pashtun culture, join any female Islamic madrassa near your hometown, study and learn the book of Allah, use your pen for Islam and the plight of Muslim ummah and reveal the conspiracyof the tiny elite who want to enslave the whole humanity for their evil agendas in the name of a new world order," Rashid wrote.
The over 2,000-word letter was dated July 15 but it was not immediately clear from where it was issued. It was released to the media today.
Rashid, a former air force personnel, tried to justify the attack on 16-year-old Malala by claiming that she was involved in an "anti-Taliban campaign". "Taliban never attacked you because of going to school or you were an education lover; also please mind that Taliban or mujahideen are not against the education of any men or women or girls," he wrote.
"Taliban believe that you were intentionally writing against them and running a smear campaign to malign their efforts to establish Islamic system in Swat and your writings were provocative," he added.