A senior Pakistani Taliban militant has urged teenage education campaigner Malala Yousafzai to return from Britain and join a female madrasah in her hometown of Mingora in the Swat district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.
In a 2,000-word letter published on July 17
, Adnan Rashid insisted the Taliban was not against girls' education.
Rashid said the Taliban tried to kill Malala last year because the Islamic militants thought the young teenager was "running a smear campaign to malign their efforts to establish [an] Islamic system in Swat."
Rasheed said he regretted the shooting, but did not apologize for it. Rasheed said he wished he could have told her to "refrain from anti-Taliban activities" to prevent the attack.
Malala was shot in the head while traveling home from her school in Mingora.
Last week, on her 16th birthday, Malala said in a speech to the United Nations that the Taliban had failed to silence her.
She also called for greater support of universal education for all children.
Former British prime minister Gordon Brown, now a UN special envoy on global education, criticized Rasheed for writing the letter while the Taliban continues to attack schools.
Rasheed also justified recent attacks in Pakistan on health workers providing children with polio vaccinations, claiming the West is trying to sterilize Muslims.
In the past, the Taliban has denied carrying out such attacks.
Rasheed was a former Pakistan Air Force officer and jailed for trying to assassinate General Pervez Musharraf.
The Taliban set him and other prisoners free last year during a raid on their jail.
With reporting by dpa and Channel4.com