A spokesman for the Taliban's Swat Valley chapter says its leadership decided two months ago to kill a 14-year-old activist, who was shot and seriously wounded this week — and then sent out a hit squad to carry out the job.
A spokesman, Sirajuddin Ahmad, on Friday said Malala Yousufzai was warned three times to stop her activities promoting "Western thinking," but she did not.
He said the last warning was conveyed a week ago to her family.
Ahmad said two of the attackers had expertise in shooting people in the head. The hit squad carefully examined the girl's route from school to her home.
In a separate development Friday, Pakistani police in the town of Mingora, where the shooting occurred, said they have arrested a number of suspects in the case.
Mingora police chief Afzal Khan Afridi declined to give details about the number of people detained or what role they're suspected in having in the shooting.
Yousufzai is in "satisfactory" condition at a military hospital, a spokesman said Friday, cautioning that the next few days will be critical.
Maj. Gen. Asim Saleem Bajwa said she is being kept unconscious and on a ventilator, and doctors will decide when to take her off.
"Her blood pressure is normal. Heartbeat is normal, and thanks to God, her condition is satisfactory," Bajwa said.
Bajwa said the bullet entered her head and went into her neck toward her spine, but it was too soon to say whether she had any significant head injury.
Tuesday's shooting of the teenage activist who spoke out in support of girls' education and against Taliban atrocities has horrified many in Pakistan and abroad.
Yousufzai is widely respected for her role in promoting girls' education in the Swat Valley, where she lives, and the rest of Pakistan.
The gunmen who boarded the bus taking Yousufzai home from school asked for her by name before shooting her and two other girls.
School reopens after shooting
The school she attended in Mingora, owned and operated by her father, reopened Friday. The atmosphere was grim as children and teachers tried to come to terms with what happened to their star pupil.
"We have decided to open the school after two days to overcome the fear among our students that gripped them due to the attack. The number of students is low today. We have not resumed regular teaching activity, but held an assembly to pray for Malala and the other two injured girls," said one of the teachers, Zafar Ali Khan.
Police had been deployed around the school, but even so, many students stayed away.
"Although we have gathered here for to pray for Malala, this shows we will keep her mission going," Ayesha Khan, a ninth-grade student. "Many of the students haven't come due to fear, but I believe this fear will subside ultimately."
The girl was initially airlifted from the town of Mingora in the Swat Valley to a military hospital in the frontier city of Peshawar, where doctors operated on her to remove a bullet from her neck. On Thursday she was transferred to a hospital in Rawalpindi, where the Pakistani army is headquartered.
In addition to the team of Pakistani military and civilian doctors who have been treating her, two foreign doctors have also been consulted, Bajwa said. He said so far there are no plans to send her abroad for treatment.