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Friday, December 26, 2008

Pakistan Taliban threatens to kill schoolgirls

From the al-Arabiya:
Taliban leaders in Pakistan's troubled northwest Swat valley have banned girls from attending school, threatening to kill any female student, officials said Thursday.

The threat was delivered this week by local Taliban commander Shah Durran in an address carried on an illegally-run radio station in the area, local officials told AFP.

"You have until Jan. 15 to stop sending your girls to schools. If you do not pay any heed to this warning, we will kill such girls," one official quoted the commander as saying.

An official at the Pakistani education ministry said there are about 1,580 schools registered in Swat -- once known for its top-flight schools.

"Already Taliban militants have destroyed 252 schools, mainly those where girls and boys were studying together," official Naeem Khan said.
The Pakistan Daily Times adds:
Locals say they are helpless and have no other option but to accede to the Taliban’s pressure as the government has failed to provide them with securuty.

“This is terrible,” the principal of a private school in Mingora told Daily Times, requesting that the name of his school should not be mentioned as that would risk his life and property.

He said the Taliban decision had proved that the government had lost its writ in the valley. “This is the question of the future of our children. The Taliban decision will throw more than 40,000 girls out of schools,” he said.
Although AFP reported this a day ago, only a handful of Western media outlets have picked up on this - and, as far as I can tell, none in the United States.