Teen girl shot by Taliban leaves hospital

LONDON — Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by Taliban gunmen last October in Pakistan, walked out of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, Friday to rejoin her family. Wearing a white patterned headscarf and long gray dress, Malala walked slowly out of the hospital, helped by a nurse, and waved shyly as she went through the door.

The 15-year-old schoolgirl who campaigned for girls’ education in Pakistan and wrote a blog for the BBC Urdu service about daily life under the Taliban was targeted on her way to school on Oct. 9 last year for her stand against rules which ban girls from education.

She was shot in the head and neck by men who blocked her school bus near her home in Mingora in Pakistan’s Swat valley and asked for her by name. She was rushed to a local hospital for neurosurgery in Pakistan but flown to Birmingham a week later for specialist neurosurgery in the Queen Elizabeth hospital, which specializes in military casualties.

A hospital statement said Friday that she would return there “in late January or early February to undergo cranial reconstructive surgery as part of her long-term recovery.”

Dr. David Rosser, the medical director, praised his young patient who, he said, “has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery.”

As she recovered, the teenager attracted the world’s attention to the plight of women and girls around the world who are still struggling for education and social freedoms under repressive regimes.

Her family, who traveled to Birmingham from their home in Pakistan, may now stay in Britain, where Malala’s father Ziauddin Yousafzai has been appointed education attache at the Pakistani consulate in Birmingham.

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