Arrests made in shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala
Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was able to stand up and communicate on Friday, October 19.
October 24th, 2012
10:40 AM ET

Arrests made in shooting of Pakistani schoolgirl Malala

[Updated at 5:55 a.m. ET] Six people have been arrested in connection with the shooting of Malala Yousufzai, the teenage activist who spoke out against the Taliban, though the main suspect still is on the loose, Pakistani police told CNN exclusively.

Police on Wednesday identified Atta Ullah Khan, a 23-year-old from the Swat district where Malala was attacked, as the main suspect. Authorities are searching for Khan, who was studying for a master's degree in chemistry, police say. The Taliban-heavy Swat Valley is in the northwestern part of Pakistan.

Six men accused of facilitating the attack were arrested, police said Wednesday. Also detained were Khan's fiancée, mother and brother, though they aren't accused of involvement in the attack, police said.

It's unclear whether Khan was at the scene and tried to shoot Malala or if he was considered the leader behind the plan to kill her.

Malala, who has become a global symbol of courage after being shot in the head by the Taliban for demanding education for girls, is currently receiving treatment at a hospital in Birmingham, England.

She stood with the aid of nurses Friday for the first time since the October 9 shooting and was "communicating very freely," according to the director of the hospital.  Malala can't speak because she has a tracheotomy tube inserted to protect her airway, which was swollen after her gunshot injury, but she is writing coherent sentences, said Dave Rosser, director of University Hospitals Birmingham.

Friday's progress report - more detailed than previous updates - suggests that the 15-year-old could make a good recovery.

The Pakistani Taliban has claimed responsibility for the shooting and vowed to kill Malala if she recovers from her injuries.

Read more on Malala's story:

Attack on Pakistani schoolgirl galvanizes anti-Taliban feeling

Standing with Malala: Teen inspires others to fight for education

Malala: Global symbol, but still just a kid

$1 million bounty in Malala’s attack

The Malalas you'll never meet

soundoff (364 Responses)
  1. Rosslaw

    It's getting harder to tell the taliban from the average republican legislator anymore given their shared interests in sharia-style law directed at, and most definitely not for, women.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • rdsphantom

      REALLY?? This is the comment you make after reading the article about the capture of the alledged attackers of this brave girl? You are pretty pathetic.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      I wouldn't go that far! But it's certainly true that most Republican politicians are quite radically anti-female. But sadly, it pays to remember that they only are waging this war against women's rights because the people that elect them want them to do that very thing. I suppose it IS sobering to remember that there is such anti-female venom in this country, too. We're not at the Taliban level yet!! but it's a slippery slope when hatred and a terrible fear is the basis of policy.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • tkayvegas

      I'm sorry you admit that you can't see the difference. Maybe you you should stop commenting on this site and go seek some help. We're rooting for you brother...

      October 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rick Wood


      October 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • CaesarXIII

      Are your parents embarrassed that you're a C average student at community college?

      October 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      Wow...dude I’ll help you out with a couple differences
      Taliban-Hate American and love killing Americans and western culture
      Republicans-Love guns and money (but will die for America if needed at the drop of a hat if its going to help save others)
      Democrats-are soft handed powder puffs that shy away of conflict even if they belive in it…but they like the weed! lol

      October 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beavis

      I thought it was the liberal way to fight oppression with oppression. Pretty sure the taliban would fit into a more libertarian sect now aday.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stupid Ignorance

      talk to me about the Islamic law, Mr. Ignorant.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • A friend of freedom

      What is pathetic is the Republican party...It's extreme right wing social engineering is akin to the taliban ideaology.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Kevin in VA

    Sadly, once he gets into the judicial system, he will pay 3 goats and a camel to the father and all will be forgiven. It is a very sad culture to be female.
    If they do not share our values then why do we keep giving them billions of our "hard earned" tax dollars.
    Pakistany politicians love the American dollars but, for the most part, the people, hate our guts.
    I guess I am too dumb to understand US foreign policy

    October 24, 2012 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      I don't know why you say that, but I'm bet you a ham sandwich that will not happen. Have you seen the public outcry? And notice: a great deal of it is directed not only at the shameful animals who did this, but also at the government. The government has taken so much heat for this that there was a parade of very conservative public officials to her bedside when she was still in Pakistan.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ike

      You actually made a very good point. They love the funds USA provides but hate the guts of the American people. Very interesting and disheartening also.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ahmed

      As someone familiar with both Pakistan and the US, let me assure you that the right wing in the US have values that are in many ways the same as the taliban. Thus, e.g., in the US, the right wing is OK with denying 40 million fellow citizens with healthcare and ridiculing it as "Obamacare". in Pakistan, the taliban are OK with denying free polio shots to children on the pretext of a US conspiracy. And both the right wing and the taliban pretend to stand on high moral pedestal of religion. So spare me this comedy about 3 goats in a country you have never visited.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin

      I know this place is a 360 from being an American...but if as a Father\Husban you could try and have your daughter killed because she wants to better herself with education. These men should be shot like dogs in the street. I dont know how they will deal with the guilty parties in this case but I dont expect much to be done. Let the girl live free in Euroupe or America where she can at least be a human.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  3. SixDegrees

    Pakistan. Main suspect: still free. Usual suspects: rounded up.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Kristal

    what a Hero what grit she has Courage beyond believe.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
  5. sandiegobeachbum

    I hope they stone these Stone Age murdering, cowardly thugs to death. What kind of man could walk and shoot a 14 year old girl in the face merely for wanting to get an education? The entire population of the middle east should go after these terrible, vicious, evil, cruel, cowardly and sorry excuses for human beings Talibums and eradicate them from the face of the earth.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Stoning them would be easy. Putting them through a fair trial with a jury of ordinary Pakistanis, finding them guilty (if they are) and punishing them as a civilized, humane nation would - now THAT would be a great step forward.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  6. dean

    23 year old student studying for a masters in chemistry. Well there goes the theory that these guys are all poor illiterate misguided individuals easily recruited into the Taliban. Ths crazy cult religion is the most dangerous thing facing the civilized world today.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stupid Ignorance

      And you talk as if it's a 10 years old religion, not a religion that freed the humanity from ignorance and slavery more than 1400 years ago. What an ignorant poor brain washed sheep you are.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Matty

    Religion is the root cause of this mayhem. I can't stand Jews, Muslims, or Christians. The human race would be a much better place if reality wasn't based on fantasy.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • ME

      Unfortunately i would have to agree with you

      October 24, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • IfonlyIthot

      dude – hate is hate. yours for religious people is no different because yours is motivated by a set of beliefs just as theirs. it comes from warped perceptions of reality, not the actual models for human behavior encompassed in religions

      October 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stupid Ignorance

      what you're talking about is the atheist policy that is far away from morals and humanity... Go read and use your own brain before you talk about religions.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Well said, Ifonly!!

      October 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • daninmass

      "I can't stand Muslims, Jews, and anyone non-aryan."
      –Adolf Hitler

      Not far off man.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Hello StupidIgnorance (wow, I never thought I'd say that!) : I don't agree with Matty, but I vigorously disagree with your pretty ignorant notion that an absence of religion is equal to an absence of morality! That is very simple-minded! If the only reason you are kind, generous and forgiving is because you're afraid of hellfire, you're not a very moral person - just a very scared one.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Matty

      Comparing me to Adolf Hitler is easy. Anytime something doesn't work in a religious persons favor they compare you to hitler who by the way was a christian supported to the catholic church

      October 24, 2012 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • LowMan

      I urge you to study North Korea a bit. The vast majority of that country is without any organized religion (in fact, most anyone caught practicing a religion, especially Christianity, can be sent indefinitely to secret political prisons), yet it suffers from as much delusion as any organized religion, as you put it. Instead of a version of "God", the people deify their real-life ruler.

      People, with or without religion, can be cruel, violent, and demented as they search for their place in the world. Removing religion is not the solution to the human problem. Teaching tolerance and understanding, and removing the mental walls of ignorance brick by brick are the best ways of protecting ourselves from those who would exploit us.

      October 25, 2012 at 1:34 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Bob

    Who's paying for the airfare and medical bills? Hopefully the Afghan government for failing to protect her in the first place. I hope they can patch her up and get her home soon to continue her cause.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  9. serious?

    i almost forgot the "Kuqwaiti incubater babies" that were thrown out by the demonic iraqi soldiers,

    one of the many lies that were used to star the first gulf war against iraq.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:20 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Ali Hassan Ayub

    Death to the taleban and their twisted, degenerate ideology. They feel threatened by a 14 year old girl? Just wait until Pakistan Army hunts them down, then they'll know what is fear. How do you look a child in the face and then point a gun at them? What SICK, demented people we are fighting and contending with. When will our government wake up and do its role to safeguard our citizens?

    This attack on Malala has fiercely united the great Pakistani Nation's citizens (of all Provinces, of all poliical and ideological beliefs). We will win this fight; we will educate our precious young ones – especially the girls (our daughters). And to those who want to stand in the way of Jinnah's PAKISTAN, we must reduce them to dust.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  11. serious?

    z i o n i s t war criminals have cried "wolf" for too long.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:21 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Sophie

    So this male was on his way to being a chemist, and he denies her rights to know 2+2 =4, sad, it would be my will
    that Malala never return to Pakistan, so they can have the watch and the time too, but she would NEVER return to that
    gawd awful place. They can eat their goats, and camels also, and smoke their own dung. Done with this place!

    October 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Last to Know

    Don't be fooled, Pakistan doesn't have the balls to really go after the person responsible for this crime. This is the same country that has the doctor who helped with the death of Osama is in jail and the men who shot a 14 year old girl point blank are running around free. Think about it people, they have arrested this guys mother??? Yeah, make it look like a woman planned the shooting of a 14 year old girl.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Well it's not the U.S and it's not all one issue. People in Pakistan are infuriated at this attack on a child - BUT they also have some pretty strong feelings about what they perceive as the U.S. interference in their country. I'm not taking sides here! The world is a better place with a dead Osama in it. I'm just saying that if a bunch of say, Russian special forces agents flew into, say, Atlanta, and assassinated a criminal who had hidden there in the US, we'd feel pretty invaded too.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Last to Know

      Nad, your reply was at the very least weak. Your support of the actions of the Pakistan government and making excuses for their being controlled by the taliban is sickning. The fact remains, Pakistan officals are wanting to push this issue away from the MEN who are responsible and place blame on a mother and girlfriend. Maybe you are too slow to catch on.

      October 24, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Penny Wright

    The 3 great evils in the world are Islam, the Catholic Church, and the Republican Party.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Beavis

      The greatest evil is a human who prides himself on ignorance (such as yourself). The horde of you put the likes of Hitler in power, Lennin, Moussolini, Napoleon; countless men who have hundreds of thousands to millions of deaths on their hands.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • nadinesh

      Whew! You both are pretty weird dudes. And Beavis - you need medication.

      October 24, 2012 at 12:32 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Matty

    This is what happens with a male dominated world. You can go to school but the women can't. It sucks that here in America people still want to be muslim. The muslims don't want to change either. They just want the benefits that there country couldn't provide and shove this piece of crap religion down your throat. Islam is a cult that focuses on a kiddie rapist who couldn't read. That is why Muhommudy face was so angry. People who can't read are stupid and stupid people tend to be angry because it is a easy way to stimulate the mind. Look at the N.O.I. A hate group that was started by a man that was half white and hated white people. These people are sick.

    October 24, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Report abuse |
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