Taliban victim Malala returns to school

Last updated 15:11 20/03/2013
Reuters

Holding her father's hand and carrying a new pink backpack, Malala Yousafzai has returned to school for the first time since she was shot by the Taliban. Deborah Gembara reports.

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Malala Yousafzai, the Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban, has returned to school for the first time since she was targeted.

The 15-year-old joined other girls at Edgbaston High School for Girls in Birmingham for her first day back at school on Tuesday (local time), said Edelman, the public relations agency handling her media relations.

Malala was airlifted to Britain for treatment after Taliban gunman shot her on October 9, while on her way home from school in northwestern Pakistan. The militant group said it targeted her because she promoted "Western thinking" and criticised the group's behaviour when it took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived.

The shooting sparked outrage in Pakistan and many other countries, and her story has captured global attention for the struggle for women's rights in her homeland.

Malala was released in February from the hospital that was treating her for her injuries. Doctors said she was recovering well after receiving skull reconstruction and cochlear implant surgeries.

In a statement, Malala said she was excited to return to school and that she wanted "all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity".

"I miss my classmates from Pakistan very much, but I am looking forward to meeting my teachers and making new friends here in Birmingham," she added.

The teenager is expected to remain in the UK for some time as her father, Ziauddin, has secured a post with the Pakistani Consulate in the English city of Birmingham.

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- AP

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