Pakistani Girl Remains in Critical Condition

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 12:05 pm (UTC-5)
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Doctors in Pakistan have successfully removed a bullet from a 14-year-old girl shot by the Taliban for speaking out against the militant group and promoting education for women.

Officials say Malala Yousufzai is in stable but critical condition after gunmen shot her in the head and neck Tuesday on her way home from school in Swat Valley. Two other girls were wounded in the attack.

Doctors at a Peshawar military hospital removed a bullet from her neck early Wednesday after she developed complications.

Preparations were made to fly her abroad for treatment, but officials said she is too ill to travel.

On Wednesday, the head of Pakistan's military, General Ashfaq Kayani, visited Yousufzai's hospital and condemned her attackers. He called them “cowards” and said they have little regard for human life. He also accused them of targeting children in the past.

Pakistani political and religious leaders also condemned the attack, as did Afghan President Hamid Karzai and U.S. officials.

Schools in the Swat Valley closed Wednesday in a sign of protest against the shooting. Small protests against the attack were also held in Islamabad, Peshawar and other Pakistani cities.

Yousufzai is internationally recognized for documenting atrocities committed by the Taliban in the area near her home. She wrote under a pseudonym – Gul Makai – in a blog published by the BBC.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the shooting. A Taliban spokesman said Yousufzai was “pro-West, and that she denounced the militant group and called U.S. President Barack Obama her idol.

Yousufzai described life under the Taliban in 2008 and 2009, when militants carried out beheadings and other violence in the territory they controlled – large areas of the Swat Valley in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

In Washington, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Yousufzai has been brave in standing up for the rights of girls in Swat Valley. Clinton said Yousufzai was attacked by militants who do not want girls to have an education, to speak for themselves and become leaders. She said militants feel threatened by that kind of empowerment.

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