The Straits Times
Published on Oct 10, 2012

Taleban gunmen shoot 14-year-old girl activist


MINGORA, Pakistan (AP) - Fourteen-year-old Malala Yousufzai was admired across a battle-scarred region of Pakistan for exposing the Taleban's atrocities and advocating for girls' education in the face of religious extremists. On Tuesday, the Taliban nearly killed her to quiet her message.

A gunman walked up to a bus taking children home from school in the volatile northern Swat Valley and shot Malala in the head and neck. Another girl on the bus was also wounded.

The young activist was airlifted by helicopter to a military hospital in the frontier city of Peshawar. A doctor in the city of Mingora, Tariq Mohammad, said her wounds weren't life-threatening, but a provincial information minister said after a medical board examined the girl that the next few days would be crucial.

Malala began writing a blog when she was just 11 under the pseudonym Gul Makai for the BBC about life under the Taleban, and began speaking out publicly in 2009 about the need for girls' education - which the Taleban strongly opposes. The extremist movement was quick to claim responsibility for shooting her.