MIRANSHAH - The Pakistani Taliban on Monday said schoolgirl campaigner Malala Yousafzai had “no courage” and vowed to attack her again if they got the chance.

Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman for the main Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) umbrella group, slammed Malala and said they would try again to kill her.

“She is not a brave girl and has no courage. We will target her again and attack whenever we have a chance,” Shahid told AFP.

DEMANDS FOR PEACE

Earlier, a report quoted the spokesman for the TTP (TTP) as saying that the peace talks cannot be successful until the withdrawal of army troops from the tribal areas and the release of prisoners.

In an interview to a group of journalists at a secret location in Waziristan, the TTP spokesman Shahidullah Shahid also demanded an end to the drone strikes.

He disclosed that they were being funded by Afghan Taliban. He said in the beginning the Pakistani Taliban used to provide financial help to the Afghan Taliban but now the latter had become so strong that they no longer needed support from the former. “Now they extend assistance to others besides providing secure positions in Afghanistan,” he added.

Shahidullah Shaid told the journalists that the Afghan Taliban had also provided shelter to Mullah Fazlullah in Kunar province.

Referring to Malala Yousafzai, he said she was not attacked for pursuing education but for her going against the religion of Islam.

Gunmen sent by the Taliban tried to kill Malala on her school bus on October 9 last year.

She amazingly survived being shot in the head and has become a global ambassador for the right of all children — girls as well as boys — to go to school.

Having spread a message of “education for all” across the globe, the 16-year-old is now among the favourites for the Nobel Peace Prize, which will be awarded on Friday.

She first rose to prominence during the Taliban’s 2007-09 rule in Pakistan’s northwestern Swat valley with a blog for the BBC Urdu service chronicling the rigours of daily life under the Islamists.

Nobel contender backs Taliban talks—see Back page