Islamabad: The Taliban leader who ordered the attack on Pakistani teen activist Malala Yousufzai last month, has escaped retribution by hiding in eastern Afghanistan, according to US officials.
US military and intelligence officials said that Mullah Fazlullah, the mastermind of the attack on 15-year-old Malala, operates out a region adjoining Pakistan where several hundred US troops are stationed, reports The Washington Post.
Fazlullah, also known as Mullah Radio because he uses a mobile radio transmitter to broadcast didactic speeches denouncing girls`` education, music and all things Western, sought safety in Afghanistan sometime in 2009. He fled Paksitan after leading a gruesome campaign in Swat Valley, seeking to impose his extreme interpretation of Sharia law through beheadings, floggings, bombing girls` schools and killing hundreds of civilians, Pakistani police and soldiers, the paper said.
A US defense official said Fazlullah has found sanctuary in Konar and Nuristan through personal ties with tribal leaders. His fighters have launched numerous attacks across the border that US defense officials say are intended to raise Fazlullah`s profile and make the Pakistani army look weak.
Earlier in June, about 100 of Fazlullah`s fighters crossed the border into Pakistan and beheaded 17 soldiers. A year earlier, they had captured 16 Pakistani policemen and executed them by firing squad.
But it was the attempt to assassinate 15-year-old Malala on October 9 that pushed Fazlullah into the international limelight. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on the girl for speaking up against them and advocating girls` right to education.
Pakistani authorities have arrested at least 30 people for questioning, but they have not yet found the shooters or Fazlullah.