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Bullet removed from Taliban victim aged 14

Girl was targeted and shot for championing female education

Malala Yousafzai receiving an accolade for her work Malala Yousafzai receiving an accolade for her work
  • ucanews.com reporter, Peshawar
  • Pakistan
  • October 10, 2012
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Doctors have successfully removed a bullet from the neck of 14-year-old Malala Yousafzai, a National Peace Award winner and champion of female education, who was shot by Pakistani Taliban yesterday. She is said to be in stable condition at the Combined Military Hospital of Peshawar, where security has been tightened.

According to reports, Malala was attacked while returning from school with fellow students. Taliban gunmen surrounded their van and personally identified Malala before shooting at her from close range. Two other girls were also injured, one of them seriously.

A hunt continues for the Taliban militants who claimed responsibility for the attack, and who accused Malala of being Western-minded and speaking against them.

Malala came into the spotlight in 2009  after the Pakistan army seized the Swat Valley from Taliban control. Under their regime, the Taliban had banned female education, which prompted Malala to start writing a diary for BBC Urdu under the pseudonym “Gul Makai.”

After the Taliban was ousted and her true identity came to light, the diary brought her a great deal of media attention and she came to be known as a champion for the cause.

The attack has drawn global condemnation, with the US calling it "barbaric" and "cowardly." The Pakistani president as well as religious and political parties expressed concern for the girl’s wellbeing.

The Society for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (SPARC), which awarded a shield of encouragement to Malala last year, said the shooting is an eye-opener on the effects of militancy on children.

“Minor boys are being recruited by militants, while girls are forced to stay at home in Taliban occupied regions. Still the state chooses to ignore the issue,” said Sajjad Cheema, SPARC regional manager.

“This high profile kid was left at the mercy of militants. Authorities have to make sure the valley is completely secured,” she said.

Media reports say more than 800 schools were destroyed in the Swat Valley while under Taliban control.

Father Nasir William of St. Michael’s Church, situated near the hospital, dedicated morning Mass to Malala.

“She is more courageous than any of us,” he said. “Her vision encourages educators like me. She knew the inherent dangers but still raised her voice against oppression.”

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