Malala Yousafzai, the teenage activist Pakistani Pashtun girl shot in the neck and head by a Taliban terrorist on Oct. 9, is walking, writing and aware of the international attention her case had attracted, according to the medial director at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, U.K., where the patient is being treated.
She can’t talk yet due to a tracheotomy tube, but she is expected to recover her motor skills. The medical staff told the press she gave consent to share the details of her medical condition.
"She is not out of the woods yet," Dr. Dave Rosser told the Associated Press on Friday. Yousafzai is fighting an infection possibly contracted by the head wound.
Yousafzai, who is believed to be 14 or 15, was shot walking home from school on Oct. 9 in Sway province. She was targeted for her literacy and education activism and has become a potent symbol among the country’s moderates. She was 11 years old when she began writing a blog for the BBC to highlight the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan’s (TTP) violent efforts to purge girls’ education from areas it controls inside Pakistan.
The brazen assault on the girl may compel the government to address its lack of control over terrorist activity in the country’s restive north. In 2008 alone, the BBC said an estimated 150 schools were shut down or destroyed in areas where the radical Islamists are checking Pakistan’s state authority.
A 2009 documentary by award-winning Pakistani-Canadian journalist Sharmeen Obaid-Chinay highlighted for the PBS news program “Frontline” the Taliban’s attempts to demolish girls’ schools. The Pakistan military has claimed that Swat is under government control, but militants of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan still roam the region with impunity, attempting to impose a radical form of Shariah and forcing young boys into mosque-administered radical Islamic education, propagating the next generation of militants.
Meanwhile, the Pakistani Taliban is intransigent. In recent days it has issued threats to Pakistan’s “filthy, Godless media” for taking “huge advantage of this situation.” Apparently, Pakistan’s brutal terrorists overestimated the willingness of Pakistan’s larger society to embrace the idea of gunning down children who like to go to school.