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Teen at school for first time since being shot by Taliban

By Jason Hanna and Saskya Vandoorne, CNN
March 20, 2013 -- Updated 0942 GMT (1742 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Malala Yousafzai attends school in Birmingham, England, where she was treated after shooting
  • Malala: "I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school"
  • Taliban shot the teen in Pakistan in October
  • Before shooting, teen got international attention for defying Taliban's ban on girls in school

(CNN) -- For the first time since the Taliban shot her five months ago, Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai has done what made her a target of the would-be assassins: She's gone to school.

The 15-year-old on Tuesday attended Edgbaston High School in Birmingham, England, the city in which doctors treated her after she received initial care in Pakistan, a public relations agency working with her announced.

It was her first day at school since the Taliban shot her in the head in October for campaigning for girls' education.

"I am excited that today I have achieved my dream of going back to school," Malala said, according to a release from her representatives. "I want all girls in the world to have this basic opportunity.

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"I miss my classmates from Pakistan very much, but I am looking forward to meeting my teachers and making new friends here in Birmingham."

On October 9, the teenager was riding home in a school van in the Swat Valley, a Taliban stronghold in Pakistan, when masked men stopped the vehicle. They demanded that the other girls identify Malala, and when they did, the men shot Malala in the head and neck. The gunmen also shot another girl, wounding her.

Altering perceptions of women in Muslim countries

Malala improved through numerous surgeries, including two to repair her shattered skull and restore her hearing. She was walking by the time she was released from the Birmingham hospital in February.

She is continuing rehabilitation at her family's temporary home in Birmingham and is to visit the hospital occasionally for outpatient appointments.

Malala's journey from near death to recovery

Her story moved Pakistan to vow that it would more vigorously fight for girls' rights and against the Taliban.

Malala gained international attention three years before she was shot, as a campaigner for girls' education in Pakistan. In 2009, she wrote a blog published by the BBC about how she wanted to go to school but was afraid.

"The Taliban have repeatedly targeted schools in Swat," she wrote.

About that time, the Taliban issued a formal edict, which covered her home in the Swat Valley, banning all girls from schools. On the blog, Malala praised her father, who was operating one of the few schools that would go on to defy that order. She started giving interviews with news outlets, including CNN.

"I have the right of education," she said in a 2011 interview with CNN. "I have the right to play. I have the right to sing. I have the right to talk. I have the right to go to market. I have the right to speak up."

Global symbol, but still just a kid

CNN's Richard Allen Greene and Ashley Fantz contributed to this report.

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