On October 9th, 2012, 16-year-old Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by the Taliban. During her recovery, she received thousands of cards and letters from around the world. In her recent speech at the United Nations, Malala acknowledged how positive an impact the love and support of these people have had on her.
In a letter sent to Malala on Tuesday, which was obtained by Channel 4 News and other news organizations in the United Kingdom, senior Taliban leader Adnan Rasheed wrote he was shocked when hearing of the attack and "wished it had never happened". Nonetheless, he condemned the young girl of "running a smearing campaign" against the Taliban.
The letter was written as part apology for the attack and part direct response to Malala's speech at the United Nations.
Writing in a personal capacity, Adnan Rasheed expressed "brotherly emotions" for Malala since they both belong to the Yousafzai tribe. He says he wished he could have been able to advise her prior to her attack, something he described as an accident.
Rasheed concludes the letter with a plea for Malala's return to Pakistan: "Come back home, adopt the Islamic and Pashtun culture and join any female Islamic madrassa, use your pen...and reveal the conspiracy of the tiny elite who want to enslave the whole of humanity."
Malala's family has said they are aware of this letter, which was not sent to them directly, and they do not wish to comment.
In her recent speech, Malal stated that she is participating in a "global struggle against illiteracy, poverty and terrorism."
"We realize the importance of light when we see darkness," she said at the UN. "We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way, when we were in Swat, the north of Pakistan, we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns."
Below are selected excerpts from Rasheed's letter. Click here to see the letter in full.