They demanded veils for women, beards for men and a ban on music and television. They allowed boys' schools to operate but closed those for girls.
It was in this climate that Malala reached out to the outside world through her blog posts.
"I have the right of education," Malala said in a CNN interview last year. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."
Malala also encouraged other young people to take a stand against the Taliban -- and to not hide in their bedrooms. "God will ask you on the day of judgment where were you when your people were asking you, when your school fellows were asking you, and when your school was asking you (why) I am being blown up."
Mian Iftikhar Hussein, Swat Valley's provincial information minister, said he was declaring a bounty of $100,000 for the capture of the culprits in the attempt on Malala's life.