LONDON (AP) — The father of a 15-year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban described his daughter's survival and recovery as miraculous Friday, and said her shooting was a turning point for Pakistan.
Malala Yousufzai is recovering at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, where she was flown for treatment and protection from Taliban threats after she was shot on Oct. 9 in northwestern Pakistan. Her father, Ziauddin, flew to the U.K. to be by her side.
"When she fell, the world stood," he said of Malala, respected internationally as an activist for girls' education. "She will rise again, she will stand again. She can stand now."
He said he initially feared he would need to prepare for his daughter's funeral and that her recovery was "a miracle for us."
"She is recovering at an encouraging speed and we are very happy," he told a news conference in Birmingham.
He expressed gratitude for prayers and well-wishes from all over the world, saying the outpouring united Pakistan in condemnation.
A Taliban gunman shot Malala as she was in a school bus on her way home from school in the Swat Valley city of Mingora. Two other girls were injured in the attack.
She was airlifted to a hospital in Britain on Oct. 15. The Taliban have vowed to kill her, raising questions about whether it would be safe for her to return but her father rejected reports the family might seek asylum abroad.
Since she was shot, Malala has become a hero both at home and internationally, although her work in speaking out against Taliban atrocities and advocating for girls' education has long been respected and known beyond her native Swat Valley.
The family were reunited Thursday night.
"I love her and last night when we met her there were tears in our eyes out of happiness," Ziauddin Yousufzai said Friday. "We all cried a little bit."