Pakistani Taleban vow to attack Malala again

Malala Yousafzai gives a speech after receiving the RAW in WAR Anna Politkovskaya Award at the Southbank Centre in central London on Oct 4, 2013. The Pakistani Taleban on Monday said Malala Yousafzai had "no courage" and vowed to attack her agai
Malala Yousafzai gives a speech after receiving the RAW in WAR Anna Politkovskaya Award at the Southbank Centre in central London on Oct 4, 2013. The Pakistani Taleban on Monday said Malala Yousafzai had "no courage" and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

MIRANSHAH, Pakistan (AFP) - The Pakistani Taleban on Monday said schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai had "no courage" and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance.

Gunmen sent by the Taleban tried to kill Malala on her school bus on October 9 last year.

She amazingly survived being shot in the head and has become a global ambassador for the right of all children - girls as well as boys - to go to school.

Having spread a message of "education for all" across the globe, the 16-year-old is now among the favourites for the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be awarded on Friday.

But Mr Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman for the main Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) umbrella group, slammed Malala and said they would try again to kill her.

"She is not a brave girl and has no courage. We will target her again and attack whenever we have a chance," Mr Shahid told AFP.

In an interview with the BBC, Malala dismissed the threats against her life and repeated her desire to return to Pakistan from Britain, where she was flown for treatment after the attack and where she now goes to school.

She first rose to prominence during the Taleban's 2007-09 rule in Pakistan's northwestern Swat valley with a blog for the BBC Urdu service chronicling the rigours of daily life under the Islamists.

"She even used a fake name of Gul Makai to write a diary. We attacked Malala because she was used to speak against Taleban and Islam and not because she was going to school," Mr Shahid said.

While she has been feted by celebrities and world leaders across the West, in deeply conservative Swat Malala's achievements are eyed with suspicion by some.