A Pakistani schoolgirl who was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen has been flown to the United Kingdom for further treatment, a military spokesman has said. Malala Yousufzai, 14, an advocate for girls' education in her country, was attacked on a school bus in the Swat Valley last week.
At the weekend doctors said the girl was showing signs of improvement, although she remained unconscious and on a ventilator.
In a statement a military spokesman said an air ambulance transporting Malala had left the capital Islamabad and was heading to the UK.
"The panel of doctors recommended Malala be shifted abroad to a UK centre which has the capability to provide integrated care to children who have sustained severe injury," the spokesman said.
Her shooting sparked condemnation in both Pakistan and around the world.
As a result, Pakistani authorities have offered a reward of more than $100,000 for the capture of the attackers.
Up to 200 people have been detained since the incident, including the bus driver and school watchman, but most have been released. Police have said they are still looking for their prime suspect.
Malala won international prominence after highlighting Taliban atrocities in Swat with a blog for the BBC three years ago, when the Islamist militants burned girls' schools and terrorised the valley before the army intervened. Security worries meant Malala's departure was not announced until the plane was airborne.
"Since militants had threatened to target her again, it was decided that the information about her departure for medical treatment would not be disclosed until her aircraft actually took off," interior minister Rehman Malik said.
The army said all expenses, including Malala's air ambulance flight and treatment abroad, would be covered by the government of Pakistan.
British foreign secretary William Hague says the UK government offered to treat the girl the day after she was attacked.
"The United Kingdom stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Pakistan in fighting terrorism, in trying to ensure that young people have a proper education and in supporting Malala, this brave schoolgirl who we will welcome into the United Kingdom."
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