UAE to send air ambulance for Malala Yousufzai shot by Taliban

Malala Yousufzai

The United Arab Emirates plans to send a specialized aircraft to serve as an ambulance for a 14-year-old Pakistani girl shot by the Taliban in case doctors decide to send her abroad for treatment, a Pakistani official said Sunday.

The shooting of Malala Yousufzai along with two classmates while they were on their way home from school on Oct. 9 horrified people in Pakistan and internationally. She was shot for promoting girl's education and criticizing the Taliban.

The attack left Yousufzai seriously wounded and sparked calls for the Pakistani government to step up its fight against the militant group.

Visas are being finalized for the air ambulance crew and six doctors who will accompany the flight, Islamabad's Ambassador to the UAE Jamil Ahmed Khan told Pakistan's Geo TV on Sunday. Arrangements have been made to treat the girl at three hospitals in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, he said.

The UAE Embassy in Islamabad could not immediately be reached for comment.

No decision has yet been taken to send the girl abroad, but the air ambulance is part of the contingency plan, the Pakistani military said Sunday. Yousufzai is being treated in a military hospital, where doctors removed a bullet from her neck. The bullet went into her head before travelling toward her spine.

Doctors reviewed the girl's condition Sunday and are satisfied she is making slow and steady progress, the military said. They will carry out another detailed review Sunday evening.

On Saturday, the military said Yousufzai remained on a ventilator but was able to move her legs and hands after her sedatives were reduced.

Yousufzai earned the enmity of the Taliban for publicizing their behavior when they took over the northwestern Swat Valley where she lived and for speaking about the importance of education for girls.

The group first started to exert its influence in Swat in 2007 and quickly extended its reach to much of the valley by the next year. They set about imposing their will on residents by forcing men to grow beards, preventing women from going to the market and blowing up many schools Ė the majority for girls.

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