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Taliban gunmen target 14-year-old girl. Is this a new low for Islamists?

Malala Yousufzai, a schoolgirl who spoke out against the Pakistani Taliban, was seriously injured when Taliban gunmen fired on her school bus for 'promoting Western culture.' 

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Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, who was wounded in a gun attack, is seen in Swat Valley, northwest Pakistan, in this undated file photo.

Hazart Ali Bacha/Reuters/File

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Taliban gunmen in Pakistan shot and seriously wounded on Tuesday a 14-year-old schoolgirl who rose to fame for speaking out against the militants, authorities said.

Malala Yousufzai was shot in the head and neck when gunmen fired on her school bus in the Swat valley, northwest of the capital, Islamabad. Two other girls were also wounded, police said.

Yousufzai became famous for speaking out against the Pakistani Taliban at a time when even the government seemed to be appeasing the hardline Islamists.

The government agreed to a ceasefire with the Taliban in Swat in early 2009, effectively recognising insurgent control of the valley whose lakes and mountains had long been a tourist attraction.

The Taliban set up courts, executed residents and closed girls' schools, including the one that Yousufzai attended. A documentary team filmed her weeping as she explained her ambition to be a doctor.

"My friend came to me and said, 'for God's sake, answer me honestly, is our school going to be attacked by the Taliban?',"

Yousufzai, then 11, wrote in a blog published by the BBC.

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