The Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan has issued a fresh threat to kill Malala Yousafzai, almost a year to the day since two assassins failed in their murder attempt.
Malala, who is now 16, has been recovering in the UK where she needed extensive surgery after being shot in the head as she left school in her home town of Mingora.
A spokesman for the outlawed group told Sky News that its leaders stood by their decision to kill a girl whom he said had “targeted and criticised Islam”.
“She accepted that she attacked Islam so we tried to kill her, and if we get another chance we will definitely kill her and that will make us feel proud,” said Shahidullah Shahid.
“Islam prohibits killing women, but except those that support the infidels in their war against our religion.”
In the past year, Malala has been catapulted on to the international stage, speaking at the United Nations and being recognised by human rights group around the world.
She will publish her autobiography on Tuesday, titled I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up For Education And Was Shot By The Taliban, a day before the anniversary of the attack.
She is also among the front runners for the Nobel Peace Prize, which is due to be announced on Friday.
The latest Taliban comments follow months of soul searching among militants, who have tried to stave off public criticism with a series of lengthy press releases attempting to justify why they shot a 15-year-old girl.
In July, a senior commander wrote an open letter to Malala setting out the reasoning and expressing regret that he had not warned her to end her campaign.
“When you were attacked it was shocking for me. I wished it would never happened and I had advised you before,” wrote Adnan Rasheed.