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. craig38

    This is Islam in action! Not Taleban,not extremists or radicals or Jihadists, but Islam!

    October 24, 2012 at 2:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • peace

      so what do you know about Islam to base this incident on? First go study Islam as a religion and than pass on such stupid remarks.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • dave richman

      @ Pease : It is you who need to read the Koran. It is a dark, foreboding message from a God who does not speak of love even once in the whole thing. Sharia Law is a cultural norm in Arab countries. Sharia and Islam togather make for a backward and primitive society that has no room for human rights.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Report abuse |
    • Yaqoot Mir

      So when the colorado movie theater shooting happened was that Christianity at work? or a 'crazy individual' per your media? JUST SHUT UP...........

      October 24, 2012 at 2:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • OSAMA

      first Read Holy QURAN then speak, U dont even follow ur own religion.....

      October 24, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Rev. Christie Bliss. Ley

    The men that planned and executed this attack are inhuman monsters who need to be put behind bars and left there.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carla

      They need to be put down with their own methods they instill on others. Takes a very pathetic and insecure man to shoot a 14 year old girl.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Rev. Christie Bliss. Ley

    I hope those responsible for this attack are put away for life.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuslimDude

      @Rev. Christie Bliss. Ley – YES, YES, YES! Jails in that part of the world are horrid. Leave them there and forget about them.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:13 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Semour

    They're using the Russian idea of justice. When they were in Af'stan in the '80s they would send the heads of relatives to the people they were looking for. That sent a strong message.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:09 pm | Report abuse |
  5. MuslimDude

    Craig38 – No, it is NOT Islam, the Taliban are extremists, they want to subjugate ALL Muslims. The problem is that they themselves do not know what Islam is all about.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gizelle

      Where in the world where Islam is the predominant religion do women have complete equality? Turkey seemed to be an example until the government changed to be led by more fundamentalist President.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Tracie

    It is extremely obvious that Middle Eastern men are afraid of the intelligence of women...I wonder why that is?

    October 24, 2012 at 2:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • MuslimDude

      @Tracie – it's because they want to be able to subjugate women and treat them as 2nd class citizens. This is NOT Islam because Islam had brought women to be the same status (if not higher) than men when it was revealed. These people have forgotten the message and twisted it to benefit them.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:15 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Ruth A Farella

    Poor the 15 year old girl. I will talk to Jesus Christ (God) and I will pray for her to wish her get well quick. Take care, I love you, and "smile".

    October 24, 2012 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  8. John the Agnostic

    All people have a right to seek education. All the good people in the world should support this girl. Has anyone thought of starting a fund to pay for her medical treatments and her education? I would certainly contribute.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Amperr

      me too!

      October 24, 2012 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. trilly3807

    For me, it's about keeping her safe. I don't believe her family will want to stay in hiding forever, nor should they have to.

    Get well soon Malala! Best Wishes to you and your family.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Report abuse |
  10. kamarasune

    But Joe Biden and Obama said we had no issues with the Taliban?

    October 24, 2012 at 2:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • When?

      When? Never. Shhhhh.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Amperr

    Any group, organization, or religiouos movement that has to justify shooting an unarmed girl in the head are just a bunch of "GIRLY MEN" and should be treated that way by the rest of the world.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
  12. HJon

    The Legacy of the Bush Administration embedding hatred into Americans mind against Islam.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • AnotherTexian

      I do believe it was a series of attacks by self-styled jihadists who attempted to turn American minds against Islam. Instead, they embedded a hatred for terrorism by a losely-knit lacking-organization group of men who disrespect women and children. Whether they call themselves Taliban, Al Qaeda, jihadists – none of them understand the 'struggle' of Islam is a personal, individual struggle to be as Allah wishes. Their own tribalism has left them centuries behind the rest of the world and they are jealous that no one is paying attention. Killing elicits attention. Blaming Bush is not an answer to the problem.

      October 24, 2012 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  13. GinaBonBon


    October 24, 2012 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Brenda

    Bring him to the BRONX!

    We will take her of him over here and he will be – PEACE OUT!!!!

    October 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Kerry

    A bounty on his head would produce results. Money speaks louder than religion in countries like that. They have vowed to keep trying to kill her and others. Hopefully they are all executed. Less Taliban to worry about in the future.

    October 24, 2012 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
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