10 Oct 2012

Bullet removed from girl shot by Taliban

9:05 pm on 10 October 2012

Surgeons say they have successfully removed a bullet from a 14-year-old girl shot by Taliban gunmen in Pakistan.

Malala Yousafzai, who campaigns for girls' education, was shot in the head on Tuesday as she boarded a bus on her way home from school in Mingora, the main town in the Swat Valley in the country's northwest.

A Pakistani Taliban spokesman told the BBC that they attacked her because she was anti-Taliban and secular, adding that she would not be spared.

Miss Yousafzai is reported to be in a stable condition after the operation in Peshawar.

She came to public attention in 2009 by writing a diary for BBC Urdu about life under Taliban militants who had taken control of the valley.

Her struggle resonated with tens of thousands of girls who were being denied an education by Islamist militants across northwest Pakistan and she won a national peace award from the Pakistani government.

The shooting has been condemned within the country and internationally.

President Asif Ali Zardari said that the attack would not shake Pakistan's resolve to fight Islamist militants or the government's determination to support women's education.

The attack has also been condemned by most of Pakistan's major political parties, TV celebrities and rights groups including the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and Amnesty International.

Malala Yousafzai used the pen-name Gul Makai when writing the diary, the BBC says. Her identity only emerged after the Taliban were driven out of Swat and she later won a national award for bravery and was also nominated for an international children's peace award.

Correspondents say she earned the admiration of many across Pakistan for her courage in speaking out about life under the brutal rule of Taliban militants.