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Women In Afghanistan And Pakistan

A young girl in Pakistan, hero to many—“Malala,” shot by the Taliban. We’ll look at what women face in Pakistan—and in Afghanistan as the US prepares to go.

Pakistani children pray for the recovery of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, during a candlelight vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. A Pakistani military spokesman says Yousufzai is in "satisfactory" condition but cautions that the next few days will be critical. Writing reads on the poster left, "Malala Yousufzai."(AP)

Pakistani children pray for the recovery of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot on Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women, during a candlelight vigil in Karachi, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 12, 2012. A Pakistani military spokesman says Yousufzai is in “satisfactory” condition but cautions that the next few days will be critical. Writing reads on the poster left, “Malala Yousufzai.”(AP)

The girls were singing on their school bus in northwest Pakistan, we’re told, when the Taliban gunmen climbed aboard last week. And they shot 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai.

Malala. A national hero to many in Pakistan, who championed something so simple – education for girls. The Taliban shot her in the head for promoting “Western thinking”.

They’ve said they’ll shoot her again. She survives so far. Barely. But what about the hopes of women in Pakistan and, when the US goes, in Afghanistan next door?

This hour, On Point: the Taliban, Malala, and nations of women under the gun.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Owais Tohid, a Pakistani journalist, he currently heads a leading television state in Pakistan, ARY News. You can read his first-hand account of his dealings with Malala here.

Samina Ahmed, South Asia project director for the International Crisis Group.

Andeisha Farid, founder and Executive Director of Afghan Child Education and Caring Organization.

Beena Sarwar, leading Pakistan journalist, focused on human rights, gender, and peace issues.

From Tom’s Reading List

Foreign Policy “The Taliban blow up Sufi shrines; worshippers at mosques; and men, women, and children in markets. They go for maximum carnage, taking dozens of lives either with the help of remote-controlled bombs or by luring in dazed, brainwashed nutcases to commit suicide in public by detonating dynamite strapped around their waists. The Taliban have also targeted specific individuals: senior police officials, politicians, captured soldiers, journalists, and even some religious scholars belonging to Muslim sects and sub-sects that the Taliban consider heretical. Now, add to this list of victims a 14-year-old schoolgirl specifically targeted because the Taliban think she ridiculed and defied the dictates ordained by God and his scriptures.”

Huffington Post “Malala simply wanted to go to school and get an education. Religious extremists, citing Sharia law, viewed that as a war against their self-appointed authority as the keepers of Islamic law and targeted her to be killed. The Taliban of Pakistan waylaid her school van, jumped aboard, verified her identity and opened fire on Tuesday, Oct. 9. Before the van driver was able to speed away, fourteen-year-old Malala lay bleeding with shots to her head.”

Christian Science Monitor “Just a few moments before, she said, the girls had been singing a traditional Pushto folk song on their way back from school, its lyrics vowing sacrificing their lives for their motherland, the beautiful valley of Swat.”

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