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Father of girl shot by Taliban: 'Angels' will help as she recovers

The Pakistani teenager who is recovering after having been shot by the Taliban for speaking out about women's right to an education, is now expected to make a full recovery. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports.

LONDON -- The father of the 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban for speaking out for the right to an education described his daughter’s attacker on Friday as “an agent of Satan” but said he felt “angels” were on his side as she recovered from her injuries.

Speaking at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, where the family had been reunited with Malala Yousufzai “amid tears of happiness” the evening before, Ziauddin Yousufzai said the Oct. 9 attack marked a turning point for Pakistan.

“Everyone, from all political parties, all creeds, all Pakistan was praying for my daughter,” Ziauddin Yousufzai said.


In expressing gratitude for the worldwide tributes and messages of support that have flooded in for Malala, her father described her as “the daughter of everybody, the sister of everybody.”

He said the family had decided to travel to the United Kingdom because otherwise Malala “would be missing her mother and two younger brothers and would not recover as quickly.”

Specialized treatment
Malala was airlifted to Britain for specialist treatment on Oct. 15. Doctors said the gunman’s bullet had struck the teenager just above her left eye and had grazed the edge of her brain.

Ziauddin Yousufzai paid tribute to all the medical teams involved in caring for his daughter. He said she had always received “the right treatment, at the right place and at the right time.”

Dr. Dave Rosser, Medical Director at University Hospitals Birmingham, said Malala was making very good clinical progress. He told reporters an infection had cleared and her treatment was concentrated on physical and psychological rehabilitation.

“She’s very tired,“ Rosser said. “But she managed a big smile for her mom, dad and brothers.”

University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust

Malala Yousufzai, center, meets with her father Ziauddin Yousufzai and other members of her family at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, on Friday.

'She will rise again'
Ziauddin Yousufzai  explained how Malala had been caught up in his social activism in Pakistan, becoming both his “educational companion and friend.”

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“We have a saying, ‘As the father, so the daughter’,” he said. “And so, in that environment, she became a children’s rights activists at a very early age.”

Malala began standing up to the Taliban when she was 11, when the Islamabad government had effectively ceded control of the Swat Valley, where she lives, to the militants.

Malala Yousufzai remains in stable condition at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where she is receiving gifts, flowers and positive messages from around the world. Her family is expected to arrive Britain in the next few days. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports.

The attack on Malala and two other girls as they left school was the culmination of years of campaigning that had pitted her against one of Pakistan's most ruthless Taliban commanders, Maulana Fazlullah.

"They wanted to kill her. But she fell temporarily. She will rise again. She will stand again," Malala's father told reporters.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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