Teenage Girl Shot in the Head by Taliban being Treated at UK Hospital 19 Oct 12

Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for her support of girls’ education, was flown to a hospital in Birmingham, England where she continues to get treatment. Although doctors are optimistic, they say she still has a long way to go and will likely require neurological help and repair or replacement of damaged bones in her skull.

The young girl suffered the injuries last week after a Taliban gunman entered her school bus, asked those on board to identify her, and then shot Malala along with two of her classmates. Malala was being treated in a Pakistani hospital until her medical team decided that based on her level of trauma she could receive better long-term care from a facility abroad. Malala chose to go to the UK because of the country’s positive relationship with Pakistan.

Dr. David Rosser, the medical director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is “impressed” with Malala’s “strength and resilience,” and although she is not out of the woods yet, he is “optimistic that things are going in the right direction.”

Rossner said, “It’s obvious that Malala will need reconstructive surgery, and we have international experts in that field.” He continued, “Clearly it would be inappropriate on every level, not least for her, to put her through all of this if there was no hope of decent recovery.”

Before the attempted assassination, Malala was widely known as a campaigner for girls’ education in Pakistan after she wrote a diary for BBC Urdu which relayed what life was like living under Taliban rule after they banned girls from school.  When the school reopened, Malala continued her efforts by appearing on talk shows and making public appearances calling for girls to have equal rights to an education.

As a result of the tragic shooting, the Pakistani people and political leaders (even those with historic ties to the Taliban) have collectively shown an unprecedented level of rebuke towards the Taliban and have held widespread vigils in support of Malala.

While speaking in Azerbaijan, Pakistan’s President Asif Ali Zardari said, “The Taliban attack on the 14-year-old girl, who from the age of 11 was involved in the struggle for education for girls, is an attack on all girls in Pakistan, an attack on education, and on all civilized people.”

Currently, security remains tight at the hospital as the Taliban has threatened to target Malala again.