February 4, 2013

Girl shot by Taliban undergoes skull reconstruction, ear surgery

The Pakistani teenager, targeted for advocating girls' education, remains in a British hospital.

The Associated Press

LONDON - A Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban is in stable condition after undergoing two successful operations to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing, the British hospital treating her said Sunday.

Malala Yousufzai
click image to enlarge

In this undated photo, Malala Yousufzai, 15, who was shot in the head Oct. 9 by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan, continues her recovery at a hospital in Birmingham, England. She had five hours of surgery Saturday.

The Associated Press

Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said doctors for 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was targeted for advocating girls' education, were "very pleased" with her progress after five hours of skull reconstruction and ear surgery on Saturday.

"She is awake and talking to staff and members of her family," the hospital said in a statement, adding that she would continue to recover in the hospital until she is well enough to be discharged.

The teenager drew the world's attention when she was shot by Taliban militants Oct. 9 on her way home on a school bus in northwestern Pakistan. The Islamist group said they targeted her because she promoted girls' education and "Western thinking" and criticized the militant group's behavior when it took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived.

At age 11, Malala began to write a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC about life under the Taliban in the Swat Valley. After Pakistan's military ousted the militants in 2009, she began publicly speaking out about the need for girls' education. She appeared frequently in the media and was given one of the country's highest civilian honors for her bravery.

The shooting sparked outrage in Pakistan and around the world, and her story has captured global attention for the struggle for women's rights in Pakistan. In a sign of her reach, the teen made the shortlist for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012.

Malala was airlifted to Britain from Pakistan in October to receive specialized medical care and protection from further Taliban threats. She is expected to remain in the U.K. for some time, since her father, Ziauddin, was given a diplomatic post based in Birmingham.

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