Malala Yousafzai meets Barack Obama, asks for drone strikes to end

By George Chidi
Saturday, October 12, 2013 18:00 EDT
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Malala Yousafzai and Gordon Brown attend a special event at the United Nations in New York on Sept. 25, 2013. [AFP]
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Malala Yousafzai may have missed out on the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, but she did get a chance to talk to the president about education, human rights … and drone strikes in Pakistan.

Obama invited Yousafzai to the White House “to thank her for her inspiring and passionate work on behalf of girls education in Pakistan,” the White House said in a statement Friday. “The United States joins with the Pakistani people and so many around the world to celebrate Malala’s courage and her determination to promote the right of all girls to attend school and realize their dreams.”

The 16-year-old campaigner for girls education and survivor of a Taliban assassination attempt said in a later statement that she was honored to meet with the president, but “I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism,” she said. “Innocent victims are killed in these acts, and they lead to resentment among the Pakistani people. If we refocus efforts on education it will make a big impact,” she said.

Militants have continued to vow to kill her for her advocacy in girls’ education. She began her activism anonymously blogging about life as a student in rural Pakistan for the BBC. Last year, after identifying herself publicly, a Taliban gunman climbed aboard her schoolbus and shot her in the head. She nearly died, and now lives in Britain.

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