The Other Victim of the Attack on Malala Yousafzai

A classmate injured in the Taliban's assassination attempt on the 15-year-old Pakistani says the experience has only strengthened her resolve.

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Kainat Ahmad, seen here recuperating in a Pakistani hospital, was shot in the arm during the attack on Malala Yousafzai. (RFE/RL)

MINGORA, Pakistan -- Recovered after being struck by a Taliban bullet, 16-year-old Kainat Ahmad is now focused on two things -- continuing her education and seeing her best friend again. Ahmad was wounded during the attempted murder last month of teen peace activist Malala Yousafzai, targeted by the Pakistani Taliban for her criticism of the hard-line group's influence in the restive Swat Valley.

On November 1, Ahmad returned to the girls' school she and Malala attend in Mingora, the capital of the Swat district. Ahmad spent nearly a week in a hospital in Mingora after being struck by a bullet in her right arm when Taliban gunman fired on the vehicle she and Malala were riding in. Malala is slowly recovering in a British hospital from a serious bullet wound to her head. Ahmad says she's looking forward to the day when Malala will join her at school and says everyone in the community is praying for her recovery.

'We Are All Capable'

While the 10th grader says her friend's relentless promotion of girls' education incurred the wrath of the Taliban, Ahmad says the incident has only strengthened her resolve to pursue an education. She says Malala's courage and defiance has made her an inspiration to a generation of Pashtun girls. "Girls will be attracted to an education because of Malala," Ahmad says. "Many are saying, 'If Malala can do what she did, why can't we do something similar?' They say, 'We all are capable.'"

Ahmad says girls' education is necessary for the progression of society and is an avenue for opportunity. "Education is a must for both boys and girls. The boys can pursue any jobs," she says, "but girls need a respectable profession where nobody can point fingers at what they do." She says the early October shooting has given her a career goal. She wants to become a doctor. "I will work very hard to become a doctor so I can serve the poor and my nation," she says.

The shooting of Malala because of her activism for peace and child rights focused global attention on the Taliban's opposition to girls' education. Rallies condemning the shooting and in support of Malala were held nationwide. The Taliban threatened journalists and media outlets across the country in the wake of the shooting and even said they would try to kill Malala again if she survived. Malala's story continues to dominate headlines in Pakistan, reflecting the public's outrage over the shooting.



This post appears courtesy of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

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