[This is an update of a post dated 9 October]
Doctors have confirmed that they have removed the bullet from Malala Yousafzai, the 14-year-old girl shot by the Taliban earlier this week. She was flown to Peshawar in critical condition after being sent to hospital in Mingora.
Gunmen from the Ehsanullah Ehsan terrorist group attacked Malala and two other girls as they left school on Tuesday, in an attack which has prompted a huge global backlash – from politicians, rights activists and the general public.
Malala first drew international attention three years ago when, encouraged by her father, she blogged for BBC Urdu about life in the Swat Valley for about four months, starting in January 2009.
When the Pakistani government launched an attack against military groups in Swat, Malala and her family moved to Shangla.
She would later become the youngest recipient of the National Peace Award.
Private schools in Pakistan’s troubled north-western Swat district have been ordered to close in a Taleban edict banning girls’ education.
Militants seeking to impose their austere interpretation of Sharia law have destroyed about 150 schools in the past year.
Five more were blown up despite a government pledge to safeguard education, it was reported on Monday.
Here a seventh grade schoolgirl from Swat chronicles how the ban has affected her and her classmates. [Source: BBC Urdu Online]
Ehsanullah Ehsan took control of the strategically-important logistics base for the Taliban in 2007. Since their capture, the Swat Valley has become home to pro-Taliban fundamentalist Muslims, who supported the implementation of Sharia law in 2009.
Prior to the global ‘War on Terror’, the Swat Valley was a popular holiday destination, known affectionately as the ‘Switzerland of the region’. It is populated mainly by Pashtuns, from Afghanistan.