A Pakistani teenage activist shot in the head by the Taliban for demanding an education has left her beloved country for specialized medical treatment in Britain.
The Taliban’s attempted assassination last week of Malala Yousufzai, 14, has sparked outrage inside Pakistan and around the world, transforming the young blogger into an international symbol of defiance against the radical Islamist group that continues to wield influence in parts of Pakistan.
Shortly after Tuesday’s attack, Malala was treated immediately by Pakistani doctors who later removed a bullet lodged in her neck. She was airlifted Monday to a hospital in Birmingham, England, that treats the country’s war casualties. There she will be treated by neurosurgery specialists. Her recovery could take months, doctors said.
Most Pakistanis consider the Taliban a bunch of murderous ideologues, and the young girl’s willingness to risk her life to attend school — despite the Taliban’s opposition to education for girls– has struck a nerve.
Massive posters and billboards said, “Malala, our prayers are with you.” At another rally in the capital of Islamabad, protesters held candles and prayed for the girl’s recovery.
Malala began gaining international attention in 2009 as the Taliban gained a foothold in her home region of Swat, a Taliban-heavy valley in northwest Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan. Malala’s father operated one of the few schools that defied the Taliban by keeping its doors open to girls.
At 11 years old, Malala started writing a blog for the BBC about what it was like to try to get an education under the constant threat of death by Islamist extremists. Her touching diary earned her both national and international praise.
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Source CNN Asia