Discuss as:

Peace-prize winning girl shot by Taliban to be sent abroad for treatment, Pakistani president says

After being targeted by the Taliban for speaking out about women's rights, Malala Yousafzai remains in the hospital, recovering from surgery to remove a bullet from her neck. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari ordered Tuesday that the young Pakistani activist who was seriously injured in a shooting by the Pakistani Taliban be sent abroad for medical treatment, the website for Pakistan's Dawn newspaper reported.

Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old Pakistani activist who won international acclaim for her work promoting peace, and two other young girls were shot and seriously injured Tuesday, police and hospital officials said.

Local police and hospital officials told NBC News that Malala was shot after leaving her school in the Swat region.

Official sources told Dawn that the single bullet, which hit Malala's head, had pierced down to her backbone.


“We have thoroughly examined her, she is in critical condition. The bullet traveled from her head and then lodged in the back shoulder, near the neck,” a doctor told the AFP agency, according to Dawn, requesting anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to media.

Gunmen hunted down young Malala Yousafzai at her school, shooting her in the head after she dared to criticize the extremists who are ravaging her country. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports.

“Next three to four days are important for her life. She is in the intensive care unit and semi-conscious, although not on the ventilator,” he added, according to Dawn.

“In such a condition, she immediately needs a sophisticated surgical procedure, which is not possible in the country,” sources told Dawn.

Malala was nominated for the International Children's Peace Prize in 2011 for a blog she wrote under a pseudonym for the BBC. She also won the National Peace Prize in Pakistan, was honored with a school named after her, and quickly became an outspoken critic of the Taliban in Pakistan and a public advocate for peace.

In the blog, she chronicled life in the Swat Valley under the brutal and oppressive rule of the local faction of the Pakistani Taliban, who carried out public floggings, hung dead bodies in the streets, and banned education for girls.

AFP

Soldiers take Malala Yousafzai, 14, to an army hospital after a gunman attacked her and two other girls in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday.

Obama her 'ideal' leader
In early 2011, the militants had added Malala to their hit list. 

"We wanted to kill her as she was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and more important she was calling President Obama as her ideal. She was young but was promoting a Western culture in the Pakhtun populated areas," Ihsanullah Ihsan, the spokesman of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan or TTP said Tuesday.

Veronique De Viguerie / Getty Images, file

Malala Yousafzai, pictured here at the age of 12 in March 2009, was undergoing surgery after she was shot twice Tuesday.

The Taliban had made a plan for killing her a year ago but were waiting for an opportunity, he told NBC News.

Malala was initially treated at the Saidu Sharif Teaching Hospital, in Mingora, the main city of Swat, but was airlifted to a hospital in the larger city of Peshawar.

'New radicals': Pakistan's Generation Y battles to shape country's future

A police official, quoting other students who witnessed the shooting, said some people came in a car and stopped in front of the school and then asked them to identify Malala.

"Since the students already knew about threats to Malala Yousufzai's life, therefore they said they didn't know her," the police officer said.

Arshad Arbab / EPA

Images of daily life, political pursuits, religious rites and deadly violence.

But he said Malala was shot when she came out of the school and got in a school van.

Americans ignore 'great risks,' travel to Pakistan to protest US drone strikes

The young girl's stark depictions of daily life in Swat -- as Pakistan’s army carried out a massive military operation against the Taliban in the area -- led her to become the first Pakistani girl nominated for the children's peace prize.

She began writing the diary for the BBC when she was just 11.

In one posting on her BBC blog, she wrote: "My younger brother does not like going to school. He cries while going to school and is jubilant coming back home ... He said that whenever he saw someone he got scared that he might be kidnapped. My brother often prays 'O God bring peace to Swat and if not then bring either the U.S. or China here.'"

A short documentary profiling an 11-year-old Pakistani girl on the last day before the Taliban closed down her school. (By Adam B. Ellick)

 

More world stories from NBC News:

Follow World News from NBCNews.com on Twitter and Facebook