LONDON – A Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by the Taliban is in stable condition after undergoing two successful operations to reconstruct her skull and restore her hearing, the British hospital treating her said Sunday.
Birmingham's Queen Elizabeth Hospital said doctors for 15-year-old Malala Yousufzai, who was targeted for advocating girls' education, were "very pleased" with her progress after five hours of skull reconstruction and ear surgery on Saturday.
"She is awake and talking to staff and members of her family," the hospital said in a statement, adding that she would continue to recover in the hospital until she is well enough to be discharged.
The teenager drew the world's attention by being shot and critically wounded by Taliban militants on Oct. 9, as she walked home from school in northwestern Pakistan. The Islamist group said they targeted her because she promoted girls' education and "Western thinking" and criticized the militant group's behavior when it took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived.
At age 11, Malala began to write a blog under a pseudonym for the BBC about life under the Taliban in the Swat Valley. After Pakistan's military ousted the militants in 2009, she began publicly speaking out about the need for girls' education. She appeared frequently in the media and was given one of the country's highest civilian honors for her bravery.
Her story has captured global attention for the struggle for women's rights in Pakistan, and in a sign of her reach the teen made the shortlist for Time magazine's "Person of the Year" for 2012.
Malala was airlifted to Britain from Pakistan in October to receive specialized medical care and protection against further Taliban threats. She is expected to remain in the U.K. for some time after her father, Ziauddin, was given a diplomatic post based in the English city of Birmingham.
So far, doctors say she has made very good progress. She was able to stand, write and return home, and doctors said they have seen minimum signs of brain damage.