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Taliban Commander Urges Malala to Return to Pakistan

Malala Yousafzai gives her first speech since the Taliban in Pakistan tried to kill her for advocating education for girls, at U.N. headquarters in New York, July 12, 2013.
A senior Pakistani Taliban commander has written an open letter to the teenage activist shot by Taliban militants, expressing regret about the attack and urging her to return home.

In the letter to Malala Yousafzai released Wednesday, Adnan Rasheed said he was shocked by the shooting and wishes it had not happened.

However, he said she was not targeted for being a proponent of girls education, but rather for what he called "smearing campaign" against the Taliban.

Malala and a classmate were shot while returning home from school in Pakistan's Swat Valley last October, in an attack that brought her campaign for children's education to the global forefront.

Rasheed, in his letter, urges the 16-year-old Malala to come back home, adopt the Islamic and Pashtun culture, and join a female Islamic madrassa (religious school).

He continues by saying that she should "use her pen... [to] reveal the conspiracy of the tiny elite who want to enslave the whole of humanity."

The letter, written in English, was sent to reporters in Pakistan.

Malala's father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, told VOA's Deewa service that the family did not receive a copy of the letter and only heard about it through the media.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and AFP.