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'Strong young woman': Taliban shooting victim Malala Yousufzai leaves UK hospital

Three months after being shot in the head by the Taliban, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai is still on the road to recovery and as committed as ever to education advocacy. NBC's Keir Simmons reports.

LONDON — Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education, has been discharged from a hospital in the U.K. after doctors said she was well enough to spend some time recovering with her family.

The 15-year-old was shot at point-blank range in October after becoming a symbol of resistance to the insurgents' efforts to deny women education and other rights. The attack on Malala, which also wounded two of her classmates, prompted revulsion and condemnation, and helped galvanize supporters of women's education worldwide.


In a statement, the hospital treating her said she had been discharged on Thursday because she was healthy enough to be treated as an outpatient.

'Malala Day' marked in Pakistan, amid security fears

"Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery," Dave Rosser, medical director of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham where Malala was treated, said in a statement. "Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers." 

U.K. National Health Service

Malala Yousufzai was discharged from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, on Thursday.

Malala will be readmitted in late January or early February to undergo cranial reconstructive surgery as part of her long-term recovery, the hospital said. In the meantime, she will visit the hospital regularly to attend clinical appointments, the statement added. 

More on this story from NBC's UK partner ITV News

Doctors said that although the bullet hit her left brow, it did not penetrate her skull but instead traveled underneath the skin along the side of her head and into her neck. The decision to send Malala to Britain was taken in consultation with her family; Pakistan is paying for her treatment.

Citing patient confidentiality, hospital authorities declined to say what her plans were to continue her education, though they acknowledge she is able to read in both English and Urdu.

The Pakistani teenager shot in the head by the Taliban for promoting girls' education has been released from hospital. Yousufzai will be treated as an outpatient at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. ITN's Rupert Evelyn reports.

Malala was flown to the U.K. on Oct. 15, six days after the school bus shooting. She was treated by doctors specializing in neurosurgery, trauma and other disciplines in a department of the hospital which has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.

'Spy of the West': Al-Qaida, Taliban struggle to justify attack on Pakistani teen

The wave of condemnation that followed the attack prompted the Taliban to release statements justifying their action. Malala quickly became an international cause celebre and became a contender to become Time's Person of the Year 2012. 

More than 250,000 people have also signed online petitions calling for her to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her activism.

Yousufzai's father said in October he was sure she would "rise again" to pursue her dreams after medical treatment.

This month Pakistan appointed Malala's father, Ziauddin, as its education attache in Birmingham. The position, with an initial three-year commitment, virtually guarantees that Malala will remain in Britain for now.

In Paris, the courageous Pakistani ten Malala Yousafzai was honored at an event marking the U.N.'s Human Rights Day. NBC's Amna Nawaz reports.

Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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