Taliban Knows the Power of Girls' Education; Do We?

Nicholas Kristof and Laura Bush sound off on the shooting of Malala Yousufzai
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2012 1:40 PM CDT
Malala Yousufzai is moved to a helicopter to be taken to Peshawar for treatment in Mingora, Swat Valley, Pakistan, on Oct. 9.   (AP Photo/Sherin Zada)

(Newser) – On Tuesday, the Taliban shot 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai in the head for no other crime than loving school and speaking out about it. "Let this be a lesson," her attackers said. And indeed, there is a lesson here. "The Taliban clearly understands the transformative power of girls' education," writes Nicholas Kristof in the New York Times. "Do we?" The fight for women's rights has become "the paramount moral struggle of this century," he writes. What's more, it's a strategically valuable one for the US to fight.

That's why "medieval misogynists" in Saudi Arabia fund boys-only madrassas in Pakistan. US education aid to Pakistan, meanwhile, is less than one-tenth the security aid we send. That needs to change. "The greatest risk for violent extremists isn't American drones," Kristof writes. "It's educated girls." Kristof isn't the only one inspired by Malala either; Laura Bush has a column praising her remarkable courage in the Washington Post today. "Speaking out after an atrocious act isn't enough," the former first lady writes. For Malala and the girls like her, "We must improve their world."

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