A 14-year old girl, Malala Yousafzai, was hurt on the head by some men when she was returning home from school. This happened in an area in northwestern Pakistan called Swat Valley. The men belong to a group called the Taliban.
The Taliban is a group of people that had ruled the country of Afghanistan for about five years until 2001. The Taliban enforced some very strict rules especially for women in the country, where women were not allowed to work outside the house, girls could not be educated, and women had to be covered from head to toe in a veil when in public. People could not watch movies or listen to music, and people who did not follow the rules were punished harshly. At the end of 2001, the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan and many members of the group went to areas near the border of Pakistan. In 2007, the Taliban took over the Swat Valley and banned schools for girls. They destroyed over a hundred schools. Yousafzai’s father ran a school in Swat Valley, and Yousafzai herself really wanted to study. She used to go to school secretly, but eventually had to stop. In early 2009, at the age of 11, she started writing a diary for the British news agency called BBC under another name. Her diary was about her life under the Taliban. Later in 2009, the Taliban were driven out of the Swat Valley, and life became more normal for Yousafzai. She became a big supporter of girls’ education, and was even given a peace award by the Pakistani government. The Taliban were upset with her because of her support for girls’ education and for speaking against the Taliban. Yousafzai is now in the United Kingdom for treatment. People from all over the world have shown support for her.
Image Credits: Naimulehasan for Yousafzai’s image