The Scottish Mail on Sunday

I’ve escaped, boasts the Taliban gunman who tried to murder Malala

- By Peter Henn

THE Taliban gunman who attempted to kill Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has boasted of his escape from custody in Pakistan.

Ehsanullah Ehsan, who boarded Malala’s school bus and shot her in the head in 2012, bragged on social media that he had fled captivity almost a month ago. He claimed to have struck a deal with the Pakistani authoritie­s after they captured him in 2017, meaning he would serve a term of house arrest with his family.

However, he said he had fled his home after the Pakistani authoritie­s failed to keep promises made to him. Officials have yet to comment on his claim.

Ehsan, who was also known as Liaquat Ali, attempted to kill Malala because she had made a name for herself as a campaigner for girls’ education.

Malala, who was airlifted to Britain after the shooting, made a full recovery and went on to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her activism.

She has since received a degree from Oxford after finishing her schooling in Birmingham.

Her attacker’s escape from captivity will come as an embarrassm­ent to the Pakistani authoritie­s, and could also lead to further scrutiny of their alleged links to extremist organisati­ons.

The country’s military have yet to respond to Ehsan’s claims but the New York Times reported that the Taliban gunman had fathered a child while he was in custody, and that he had been receiving payment as part of the terms of his surrender.

Reports said it was a failure of the authoritie­s to deliver the cash that led him to make his escape.

Security sources believe that he fled to a hideout in the mountainou­s border region located between Pakistan and Afghanista­n.

In an audio clip posted on social media, Ehsan boasted: ‘I have been in detention for three years and I honoured the deal with great patience for three years.

‘In the near future, I will make more revelation­s about the deal and people involved in it.’

Ehsan was one of the most prominent members of Pakistan’s Taliban before leaving the group in 2013 to join the breakaway Jamaat-ulAhrar faction.

He was also involved in the murder of more than 140 people – most of them children – at the Peshawar Army Public School in December 2014, before surrenderi­ng to Pakistani forces in 2017.

 ??  ?? FLED: Ehsanullah Ehsan and, below, Malala Yousafzai
FLED: Ehsanullah Ehsan and, below, Malala Yousafzai
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