Pakistani teen shot by Taliban returns to school


AP /March 19, 2013

Malala Yousufzai Back To School

In this undated file photo provided by Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, Malala Yousufzai, the 15-year-old girl who was shot at close range in the head by a Taliban gunman in Pakistan, reads a book as she continues her recovery at the hospital. (AP Photo/Queen Elizabeth Hospital, File)

 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, said Edelman, the public relations agency handling her media relations.

Malala was airlifted to Britain for treatment after Taliban gunman shot her on Oct. 9, while on her way home from school in northwestern Pakistan. The militant group said it targeted her because she promoted ‘‘Western thinking’’ and criticized the group’s behavior 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 U.K. for some time as her father, Ziauddin, has secured a post with the Pakistani Consulate in the English city of Birmingham.end of story marker

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