Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani Girl Shot By Taliban, Speaks Out For First Time

  on
Malala Yousufsai Reuters
Pakistan's Malala Yousufsai.

This story has been updated

Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban, has successfully undergone two surgeries in a British hospital and is speaking out about her experience for the first time. (Scroll down for video.)

According to the Associated Press, the 15-year-old symbol of women's rights had two procedures at Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital, a skull reconstruction and hearing surgery. Hospital staff told the AP Malala is recovering well and will remain in the hospital until she is well enough to be discharged. 

Last month, the Guardian reported that Malala was set to have a custom-made titanium plate fitted as a replacement for part of her missing skull as well as a cochlear implant. 

The young advocate for girls' education became a worldwide symbol in October when she was shot by Taliban militants on her way home from school. According to BBC News, four gunmen stormed the schoolbus she was on and opened fire. Three other girls also were wounded. 

"She was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her ideal leader," Ehsanullah Ehsan, a Taliban spokesman, said in a statement justifying the attack. "She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas."

Malala, then 14, had long been advocating for girls' education in Pakistan. 

Days later, she underwent a three-hour operation to have a bullet removed from her head. A week later, she was transferred to the UK for treatment. 

The "Western-thinking" girl lived in the Swat valley, which was overtaken by the Taliban in 2009, who shut down girls' schools in the region. They were later forced out by the Pakistani military. 

During that time, Malala began blogging for BBC News, providing insights into life under the extremists' rule. In 2011, she was awarded Pakistan's first peace prize. The attack served as proof that the Taliban is still a threat to Swat. Last month, her father Ziauddin was appointed to a diplomatic post at a Pakistani Consulate in Britain, allowing the Yousafzai family to reside in the UK for the time being.

Speaking out publicly for the firsr time since the attack, Yousafzai thanked her supporters in a video message recorded before her operation on Saturday. She said:

"Today you can see that I am alive. I can speak. I can see you. I can see everyone and... I am getting better day by day. It's just because of the prayers of the people."

Join the Discussion