An assassination attempt was not enough to curtail the human-rights work of teenage activist Malala Yousafzai. In fact, her brush with death at the hands of the Taliban only served to strengthen her resolve and led to her consideration for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize.
|Yousafzai follows in the footsteps of women's rights pioneer Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's first--and so far, only--female prime minister, assassinated in 2007.|
The 16-year-old Pakistani rose to prominence as a vocal advocate for girls’ right to education. The Taliban, which ardently disagrees with Yousafzai’s position, was fearful that her activism would inspire others to act. The group planned to silence the teen, and while she rode a school bus, a Taliban gunman shot her in the head.
Yousafzai was flown to England, where she received emergency care and eventually recovered from her injuries. Rather than go into hiding, she remained steadfast in her attempts to provide Pakistani girls with the right to an education. In October 2013 she visited the U.S. to share her story.
Her work, including her best-selling book I am Malala, landed her on the shortlist of Nobel candidates. Despite being the odds-on favorite to win the award, Yousafzai was edged out by Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, a watchdog group that conducts investigations into the use of chemical weapons.
The Nobel Committee’s decision was met with criticism from some, but praise from the Taliban. In a statement published by NBC News, the Taliban said that the committee was correct in “not selecting this immature girl for this famous award,” according to spokesman Shahidullah Shahid. “If we get another chance, we will definitely kill her, and that will make us feel proud,” Shahid said.
For her part, Yousafzai has vowed to continue her work.
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