14-Year-Old Malala Yousafzai Is Recovering After Taliban Shooting


Great news: Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old schoolgirl and outspoken equal education rights advocate who was shot by the Taliban for being “pro-West” (among other points of contention), is recovering relatively quickly. According to medical officials at the British hospital she was transported to after her assassination attempt, Malala can now stand with assistance and communicate in writing.

“It’s clear that Malala is not out of the woods yet,” Dr. David Rosser, the medical director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, told reporters outside of the hospital, according to the New York Times. “Having said that, she is doing very well. In fact she was standing with some help for the first time this morning when I went in to see her.”

Her doctor said it was a close call; if the bullet had struck just a few inches more central, Malala probably would’ve died.

Rosser said they couldn’t yet say for sure if Malala would recover completely, but that there’s certainly “potential” although there was “no deficit in terms of function.” (Ugh, vague doctor-speak is so frustrating!) It’s still too early to tell whether there are any “subtle intellectual or memory deficits” — and it’s especially hard to tell because Malala’s memory went from being on a school bus in Pakistan, where she was attacked, to waking up in a hospital in a completely different country, which would confuse anyone who hadn’t just been shot in the head by a militant fundamentalist group. Reconstructive surgery won’t be an option for at least two more weeks.

Malala’s supporters have other reasons to be concerned about her life; the Taliban vowed to try and shoot her again if their first attempt was unsuccessful, because killing a 14-year-old girl is apparently on the top of their priority list. The British police questioned and turned away two people who tried to visit her at the hospital earlier this week, but said there had been no major security issues thus far. Police in Pakistan are still trying to confirm who attacked her.

Malala can’t yet speak because of a tracheotomy tube in her throat (which will be taken out in a few days) but she is “communicating very freely” through writing. Is anyone else dying to know what she has to say?

Pakistani Schoolgirl Shot by Taliban Showing Progress [New York Times]

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