Malala to Obama: Drone strikes ‘fueling terrorism’
WASHINGTON (CNN) — The “Bravest Girl in the World” has stood up to President Barack Obama.
Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old shot by the Taliban for promoting girl’s education in her native Pakistan, confronted Obama at the White House on Friday about U.S. drone strikes.
In a meeting that included first lady Michelle Obama, the young activist challenged one of Obama’s premier counterterrorism strategies.
“I also expressed my concerns that drone attacks are fueling terrorism,” she said in a statement released today. “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.”
The U.S. government has said strikes by the unmanned aircraft are a necessary part of the fight against militant groups, including the Taliban.
In an interview that will air Sunday at 7 p.m. with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, Malala said she is far from done serving.
“I want to become a prime minister of Pakistan, and I think it’s really good. Because through politics I can serve my whole county. I can be the doctor of the whole country,” she said.
In a statement, the White House saluted Malala’s continuing efforts to promote education for girls.
In a proclamation marking Friday as the International Day of the Girl, Obama said, “Across the globe there are girls who will one day lead nations, if only we afford them the chance to choose their own destinies.”
“Every continent, there are girls who will go on to change the world in ways we can only imagine, if only we allow them the freedom to dream.”
CNN’s Bryan Koenig and Conor Finnegan contributed to this report.