Teen athlete fled Taliban stronghold to pursue dream

Reza Sayah at CNN:

ScreenHunter_03 Sep. 23 09.55

As a little girl, Maria Toor Pakay would beat up boys.

Now, she dispenses of anyone who takes her on within the walls of a squash court.

Pakay, 18, is Pakistan's No. 1-ranked women's squash player. But what makes her story remarkable is that she hails from the country's tribal region of South Waziristan.

The region, along the border with Afghanistan, is home to the Taliban.

There, suicide attacks are a way of life. And the militants, bent on imposing a strict form of Islamic law, punish girls who attend school — let alone play sports.

“They have no future,” Pakay said. “They spend their entire lives in four walls in their home. Their ability is destroyed.”

But Pakay wasn't like most girls growing up. She sported a buzz cut and mixed with the boys.

More here.