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The Shooting of Malala Yousafzai

From VOA Learning English, this is the Education Report in Special English. The shooting of a 14-year-old Pakistani schoolgirl made news around the world last month.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack on Malala Yousafzai. She was shot in the head and neck as she left school. The next day, doctors successfully removed a bullet from her neck. She received treatment at the country's top military hospital. Later, she was transported to Britain for more treatment.

Malala Yousafzai became famous for speaking out against the Taliban. She is also known for her support of education for women. It is estimated that only about 40 percent of Pakistani women above 15 years of age can read. Witnesses to the incident say gunmen who came to her school asked for her by name. They open fired as she was entering a school bus. Two other students also were wounded.

The Taliban says Malala Yousafzai was targeted for, what it called, her "pro-West" ideology. It says she denounced the Taliban and called President Obama her hero. After the incident, a spokesman for the group said Taliban leaders decided a few months ago to kill the schoolgirl. They told gunmen to carry out the attack.

The girl's uncle, Ahmed Shah Yousafzai, is head of the Swat Valley Peace Council. He told VOA that no one expected that such a fierce attack would be carried out against a ninth-grade schoolgirl. The Taliban led a violent campaign for control of the Swat area in 2008 and 2009. The campaign included attacks on schools. The Taliban had banned girls from attending school. But Malala Yousufzai and her friends had disobeyed the ban by attending school.

For VOA Learning English, I'm Alex Villarreal.