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Malala Yousafzai airlifted to Britain for treatment (+video)

Malala Yousafzai, a 14-year-old activist shot by the Taliban, has been flown from Pakistan to the United Kingdom for specialized medical care. 

By Sebastian AbbotAssociated Press / October 15, 2012

Pakistani schoolchildren at their school yard in Gujranwala, Pakistan, Monday pray for the recovery of 14-year-old schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai, who was shot last Tuesday by the Taliban for speaking out in support of education for women.

Aftab Rizvi/AP

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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.

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Pakistani schoolgirl attacked by Taliban sent to UK for treatment. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).

The attack on 14-year-old Malala Yousufzai as she was returning home from school in Pakistan's northwest a week ago has horrified people across the country and abroad. It has also sparked hope the government would respond by intensifying its fight against the Taliban and their allies.

Malala was targeted by the Taliban for promoting girls' education and criticizing the militant group's behavior when they took over the scenic Swat Valley where she lived. Two of her classmates were also wounded in the attack and are receiving treatment in Pakistan.

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.

Video footage handed out by the military showed Malala being wheeled out of the hospital on a stretcher, covered in a white sheet and surrounded by uniformed army officers. She was placed in the back of an ambulance and driven to the airport, where she was put on a plane.

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.

"It was agreed by the panel of Pakistani doctors and international experts that Malala will require prolonged care to fully recover from the physical and psychological effects of trauma that she has received," the military said.

The plane stopped for several hours in the Emirati capital of Abu Dhabi on the way to the United Kingdom, said the Pakistani Ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan. The ambassador visited Malala during the stop and said she appeared to be in stable condition. Her parents were not on the plane with her, he said.

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