Recovering Malala Walks, Talks, But Pakistan Launches No New Offensive Against Taliban

on October 26 2012 1:49 PM

Malala Yousafzai is able to walk and talk, according to her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, who visited her at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, on Friday.

Malala, 15, is a girls’ education activist who gained international attention in 2009 when she wrote a blog for the BBC and was filmed for a New York Times documentary.

The teenager was tracked down by Pakistani Taliban militants on Oct. 9 in her home town of Mingora, in the Swat district of Pakistan. Two Taliban operatives stopped the bus as she traveled home from school, shooting her twice in the head and neck.

“They wanted to kill her. But she fell temporarily. She will rise again. She will stand again. She can stand now," said Ziauddin Yousafzai on Friday.

"I can say that she got the right treatment, at the right place, at the right time."

Following her injury, Malala was airlifted to an intensive care unit in Peshawar. She was then transferred to Birmingham on Oct. 15 and has been recovering there ever since.

She had her hearing and vision formally tested on Friday morning, according to Dave Rossner, the medical director at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

“She’s walking with very little help, just a nurse’s arm on her elbow for support, eating well and talking and appears to have very good memories of the last few days of her care,” he said.

Rossner also reported that Malala’s brain was physically damaged but doctors are “not seeing any deficit in terms of function.”

"Whether there's any subtle intellectual or memory deficits down the line is too early to say," he added. "It is possible she will make a smooth recovery, but it is impossible to tell I'm afraid."

Ziauddin Yousafzai, who once was advised to begin funeral preparations for her daughter, is happy to report that his daughter’s condition continues to improve. He said that Malala wants to sit for her final exams in Swat, and that she asked him to bring her textbooks to Birmingham so that she could study.

Taliban operatives have said that they will target Malala again if she returns.

In Pakistan, the shooting provoked a public wave of support for Malala and condemnation of the Taliban’s brutal tactics. But the Pakistani military, which already has a presence in Swat, has not launched any new offensives against the insurgency there.

"It's easy to be emotional," said Pakistani President Asid Ali Zardari on Sunday, according to Pakistan Today.  He called for national consensus before pursuing any new initiatives against the Taliban.

"It's easy to take a nation to war. But you don't ride a tiger unless you know when to get off.”

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