Obama-AFP-670
President Barack Obama —File  Photo by AFP

WASHINGTON: US President Barack Obama sees the shooting of a 14-year-old Pakistani girl, Malala Yousufzai, who protested against the Taliban as “barbaric” and has offered air ambulance services, his spokesman said Wednesday.

The National Peace Award winner and young Pakistani children’s rights activist Malala Yousafzai was attacked by Pakistani Taliban on Tuesday in Mingora city of Swat.

Malala was shot on her school bus with two friends in the former Taliban stronghold of Swat on Tuesday, then flown to the main northwestern city of Peshawar to be admitted to a military hospital.

“I know that the president found the news reprehensible and disgusting and tragic,” White House spokesman Jay Carney said, adding that US forces were ready to offer transport and treatment to Malala Yousafzai if appropriate.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also condemned the attack.

She said the attack should serve as a call to action for those promoting the rights of women and girls.

Clinton said the shooting of Malala Yousufzai should galvanize support for “brave young women ... who struggle against tradition and culture and even outright hostility, and sometimes violence” to pursue their rights. She blamed the attack on extremists who are threatened by girls’ empowerment.

Clinton said the “attack reminds us of the challenges that girls face, whether it is poverty or marginalisation or even violence just for speaking out for their basic rights.”

Malala had spent Tuesday night in intensive care, where doctors at the Combined Military Hospital (CMH) described her condition as critical.

Doctors were to decide whether to fly abroad Malala abroad for further medical treatment, however, Interior Minister Rehman Malik  confirmed that, according to her doctors, the girl was “out of danger” and the decision to send her abroad had been temporarily postponed.

The Taliban has taken responsibility for Monday's shooting in Pakistan's volatile Swat Valley.

The KP information minister said Chief Minister Ameer Haider Khan Hoti has personally announced that Rs10 million will be paid to those who will help in leading to arrest or identification of the attackers.

UN chief outraged at attack on Malala

UN  Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is expressing outrage and the strongest condemnation over the shooting of Malala Yousufzai.

He declared the attack as  a ''heinous and cowardly act,'' UN spokesman Martin Nesirky said.

Ban urged that the perpetrators be swiftly brought to justice and expressed solidarity with Pakistan's efforts to confront violent extremism, he said.

Nesirky said Wednesday that the secretary-general was deeply moved by Malala's ''courageous efforts'' to promote education, a right enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

He said Ban is writing to her family to express his hope for her full and speedy recovery, and expresses sympathy to the two other girls injured in the attack.


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