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Still recovering from "just one Taliban bullet:" writes Malala

Updated 25 Aug, 2021
Malala Yousufzai wrote a piece about recovering from being shot by the Taliban in 2012. Photo from Podium
Malala Yousufzai wrote a piece about recovering from being shot by the Taliban in 2012. Photo from Podium

Almost a decade later, Malala Yousufzai's healing from the 2012 shooting is not complete as she wrote in a piece for Podium about her sixth brain surgery in Boston earlier this month.

"On August 9 in Boston, I woke up at 5:00 am to go to the hospital for my latest surgery and saw the news that the Taliban had taken Kunduz, the first major city to fall in Afghanistan. Over the next few days, with ice packs and a bandage wrapped around my head, I watched as province after province fell to men with guns, loaded with bullets like the one that shot me," she writes in Podium.

Malala was shot by the Taliban in her hometown of Swat in 2012 because they opposed her activism for girls education. She was sent for medical treatment to the UAE and then the UK, which is where she has been living since.

Since taking control of Afghanistan on August 15, the Taliban has said it will not impose the same restrictions on women as it had done in the late 1990s when they were in power. They have said girls and women can pursue education and jobs provided it falls under Islamic laws.

Malala's piece in the Podium details her slow recovery from the UK to the recent surgery in Boston earlier this month.

"Nine years later, I am still recovering from just one bullet," she writes. "The people of Afghanistan have taken millions of bullets over the last four decades. My heart breaks for those whose names we will forget or never even know, whose cries for help will go unanswered."

She also writes how she called her best friend from the time she was shot in Swat to ask her to narrate the incident again.

The wounds from my recent surgery are fresh. On my back, I still carry the scar where doctors removed the bullet from my body.

"I asked her to tell me again what happened that day," she writes.

“Did I scream? Did I try to run away?” I ask.

“No,” she says. “You stood still and silent, staring into the face of the Talib as he called out your name. You held my hand so tightly that I felt the pain for days. He recognised you and started firing. You covered your face with your hands and tried to bend down. A second later, you fell into my lap.” Two of my classmates, Shazia and Kainat, were shot in the hand and the arm. The white school bus went red with blood.

"My body has scars from one bullet and many surgeries, but I have no memory of that day. Nine years later, my best friend still has nightmares," she writes.

The Nobel laureate is a fierce advocate of peace and women's rights issues around the world.