Pakistan sends girl shot by Taliban to Britain for care
By Sebastian Abbot, AP
October 16, 2012, 12:39 am TWN
ISLAMABAD -- Pakistan airlifted a wounded teenage activist shot by the Taliban to the United Kingdom on Monday for more specialized medical care and to protect her from follow-up attacks threatened by the militants.
Malala was targeted by the Taliban for promoting girls' education. The Taliban have threatened to target Malala again until she is killed because she promotes “Western thinking.”
Malala was flown out of Pakistan on Monday morning in a specially equipped air ambulance provided by the United Arab Emirates, said the Pakistani military, which has been treating the young girl at one of its hospitals.
A panel of doctors recommended that Malala be shifted to a center in the United Kingdom that has the ability to provide “integrated” care to children who have sustained severe injuries, said a military statement.
Malala will be treated at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham in central England, a center which has specialized in the treatment of troops wounded in Afghanistan, said British Prime Minister David Cameron's office.
“The UK stands shoulder to shoulder with Pakistan in its fight against terrorism,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague in a statement sent to reporters.
Pakistani doctors at a military hospital earlier removed a bullet from Malala's body that entered her head and headed toward her spine. The military has described her recovery as satisfactory and said she was able to move her legs and hands several days ago when her sedatives were reduced. They have not said whether she suffered any brain damage or other permanent damage.
On Monday, the military said damaged bones in Malala's skull will need to be repaired or replaced, and she will need “intensive neuro rehabilitation.” The decision to send the girl abroad was taken in consultation with her family, and the Pakistani government will pay for her treatment.
Pakistanis have held rallies for Malala throughout the country, but most have only numbered a few hundred people. The largest show of support by far occurred Sunday when tens of thousands of people held a demonstration in the southern party city of Karachi organized by the most powerful political party in the city, the Muttahida Quami Movement.
Late Sunday night, over 100 Taliban militants attacked a police station in the small town of Matni, 20 kilometers (12 miles) south of the main northwest city of Peshawar. The heavily armed militants killed six policemen, including two who were beheaded, said police officer Ishrat Yar.
The police engaged the militants in a gunbattle that lasted for several hours, but the insurgents escaped after burning the police station and four police vehicles, said Yar.