Pakistani girl shot by Taliban arrives in Britain for treatment


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LONDON -- A Pakistani teenager who was wounded by Taliban gunmen opposed to her support of education for girls arrived in Britain on Monday for medical care and rehabilitation.

Malala Yousafzai, 14, was transported by air ambulance provided by the United Arab Emirates from the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi to Birmingham in central England and taken to the Queen Elizabeth hospital. She will receive post-trauma treatment, skull reconstruction and neurological rehabilitation for damage caused by a bullet that penetrated her skull.


The newly built hospital where she will be treated is Britain’s main receiving unit for military casualties, specializing in the treatment of firearms and burns victims. A brief hospital statement announcing her arrival said she was “currently stable and being assessed by a team of multi-specialist doctors,” including “clinicians from neurosurgery, imaging, trauma and therapies.”

PHOTOS: Malala Yousafzai

Medical director David Rosser said Malala will be treated by a team whose long experience in battlefield wounds predates the opening of the hospital. “We’ve taken every British battle casualty for over 10 years now,” he told reporters.

Malala, a resident of Pakistan’s Swat Valley, was sought out and shot by gunmen who boarded her school bus last week. She is not believed to have suffered severe brain damage. Two of her classmates were also hit; one remains hospitalized in serious condition.

The Taliban took responsibility for the shootings, with its spokesmen saying Malala was targeted in retaliation for promoting Western culture, secularism and education for girls. She came to public attention in 2009 when her diary entries were publicized through the BBC Urdu Service website. They chronicled the Taliban’s draconian rules limiting girls’ education and the defiant decision by her and her classmates to continue their studies.

“Malala’s bravery in standing up for the right of all young girls in Pakistan to an education is an example to us all,” British Foreign Minister William Hague said Monday. “The public revulsion and condemnation of this cowardly attack shows that the people of Pakistan will not be beaten by terrorists.”


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-- Janet Stobart