1. ITV Report

Senior Taliban commander sends letter to Malala

Malala Yousafzai addressed the UN in New York in on her 16th birthday. Photo: Dennis Van Tine/Geisler-Fotopres/DPA/Press Association Images

A senior Taliban commander has written letter to Malala Yousafzai saying she was attacked because of her "smear campaign" against the Taliban rather than her campaign for girls' education.

In the letter, Adnan Rasheed said had he not been in hiding at the time of the October attack he would have tried to stop it from happening.

However, Rasheed did not apologise for the attack. Instead the Taliban commander said he would leave it up to God to decide whether she should have been targeted.

ITV News correspondent Nina Nannar reports:

Rasheed wrote:

The Taliban or Mujahideen are not against the education of any man or woman.

The Taliban believe that you were intentionally writing against them and running a smear campaign to malign their efforts to establish Islamic system in Swat and your writings were provocative.

At the end I advise you to come back home, adopt the Islamic and Pashtun culture, join any female Islamic madrassa near your home town, study and learn the book of Allah, use your pen for Islam.

Rasheed, who the Taliban broke out of prison last year, said the militants supported both boys and girls going to school as long as they receive an Islamic education and do not study what he called a "satanic or secular curriculum".

He also criticised the UN for honouring Malala, saying the world ignores the civilians being killed in US drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan.

UN Special Envoy for Global Education Gordon Brown said "nobody will believe a word the Taliban says" about the right of girls to have an education "until they stop burning down schools and stop massacring pupils."

The former Prime Minister added, "The Taliban are on the defensive because four million people, two million of them in Pakistan, have now signed petitions calling for every girl to have their education in safety".

A spokesperson for Malala's family said, "The family has no wish to comment on this letter."