Teenaged children’s rights activist wounded in shooting in Pakistan

Targeted terror Gunmen in the Swat Valley shot and seriously wounded a 14-year-old children’s rights activist, Malala Yousafzai, who earned international recognition when she blogged about Taliban atrocities during their rule over Swat in 2009 (CNN, Tel, AFP, BBC, AP, Dawn, ET). A bearded man asked another girl to point out Yousafzai before he opened ...

A Majeed/AFP/GettyImages
A Majeed/AFP/GettyImages
A Majeed/AFP/GettyImages

Targeted terror

Gunmen in the Swat Valley shot and seriously wounded a 14-year-old children's rights activist, Malala Yousafzai, who earned international recognition when she blogged about Taliban atrocities during their rule over Swat in 2009 (CNN, Tel, AFP, BBC, AP, Dawn, ET). A bearded man asked another girl to point out Yousafzai before he opened fire on her as she was boarding a school bus, injuring her and one of her friends.

Pakistan's Supreme Court has opened an investigation into reports that 13 girls were bartered by their tribes in Balochistan to settle a blood feud (ET, Dawn, ). Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is expected to announce the country's implementation of a pneumonia vaccination program on Tuesday, becoming the first country in South Asia to do so (Guardian). Pneumonia is one of the top causes of death to children under five in the developing world.

Targeted terror

Gunmen in the Swat Valley shot and seriously wounded a 14-year-old children’s rights activist, Malala Yousafzai, who earned international recognition when she blogged about Taliban atrocities during their rule over Swat in 2009 (CNN, Tel, AFP, BBC, AP, Dawn, ET). A bearded man asked another girl to point out Yousafzai before he opened fire on her as she was boarding a school bus, injuring her and one of her friends.

Pakistan’s Supreme Court has opened an investigation into reports that 13 girls were bartered by their tribes in Balochistan to settle a blood feud (ET, Dawn, ). Pakistani Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf is expected to announce the country’s implementation of a pneumonia vaccination program on Tuesday, becoming the first country in South Asia to do so (Guardian). Pneumonia is one of the top causes of death to children under five in the developing world.

Four militants were killed in a bomb blast, and the bodies of six pro-government militia members were found in two incidents in Khyber Agency on Tuesday (The News, Dawn). And militants opened fire on a bus in Kurram on Tuesday, injuring three people (Dawn, The News).

Slipping standards

The outgoing director of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Afghanistan, Reto Stocker, said in a statement released Monday that since he began his job in 2005, "local armed groups have proliferated, civilians have been caught between not just one but multiple front lines, and it has become increasingly difficult for ordinary Afghans to obtain healthcare" (AP, Reuters, LAT, Guardian). Stocker painted a bleak picture of the quality of life for Afghan civilians not just over the past seven years, but for the foreseeable future as well, particularly with the flight of international aid when NATO completes its withdrawal of combat troops in 2014.

Seventeen days of peaceful protests at Kabul Education University over the President Hamid Karzai’s plan to change the school’s name to the Martyr of Peace Professor Burhanuddin Rabbani University turned violent on Monday as pro-Rabbani protesters – mostly non-students – attacked anti-Rabbani protesters outside the gates of the university (NYT). Police appeared to be trying to maintain the peace, but they could also be seen bussing pro-Rabbani protesters to the rally from areas outside Kabul, fueling suspicions of political involvement.

U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and other U.S. defense officials travel to Brussels this week to meet with their NATO counterparts, where they intend to reassure their increasingly weary allies about America’s commitment to the war in Afghanistan and to halting a recent surge of "insider attacks" (AP).

The birds and the bees

It comes as no surprise that sex education is a taboo subject in Pakistani schools, but a more shocking fact is that reproductive health education is not even taught in undergraduate medical schools, where one would think that taking a medical perspective would make the subject more acceptable (Post). Fortunately, that is about to change; the Dow University of Health and Sciences in Karachi will begin teaching its students about reproductive health and sexually transmitted diseases to prepare them for dealing with such issues in their future patients.

— Jennifer Rowland

Jennifer Rowland is a research associate in the National Security Studies Program at the New America Foundation.

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