Malala's recovery crosses key threshold

Malala discharged from British hospital

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    Malala discharged from British hospital

Malala discharged from British hospital 01:56

Story highlights

  • Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown welcomes Malala Yousafzai's release
  • She will continue to receive treatment as an outpatient, the hospital says
  • The 15-year-old will probably undergo cranial reconstructive surgery in the next month
  • She was shot by Taliban gunmen for promoting education for girls

With the prospect of more surgery ahead and under the shadow of Taliban threats, courageous teen activist Malala Yousafzai was recovering at her temporary home Friday after being discharged from a British hospital.

In an attack that propelled her to global recognition, Malala was targeted in Pakistan by Taliban gunmen for speaking out in favor of education for Pakistani girls. She was left with life-threatening head and neck wounds.

Now, almost three months later, she's on the mend but far from fully recovered.

Doctors plan to perform cranial reconstructive surgery on her within the next month, replacing a shattered portion of skull with either her own bone or a titanium plate.

The hospital released a photo to the news media showing a half-smiling Malala waving to photographers wearing a tan, gray and black scarf.

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Photos: Malala and the women of Pakistan

Video footage also showed her walking along a hospital corridor, her hand clasped in that of a nurse, waving goodbye to staff at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham -- her home for nearly three months.

The transformation from images released immediately after Malala was admitted on October 15 -- which showed her face bruised and a breathing tube in place -- is dramatic.

Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and his wife welcomed her progress Friday, saying on Twitter: "Good news that Malala is well enough to leave hospital. We wish her well as her recovery continues with her family."

"Malala is a strong young woman and has worked hard with the people caring for her to make excellent progress in her recovery, said Dr. Dave Rosser, the medical director of the University Hospitals Birmingham who's overseen her care.

"Following discussions with Malala and her medical team, we decided that she would benefit from being at home with her parents and two brothers."

As she recovers with her family at a house in the West Midlands, Pakistan's consulate in Birmingham has hired Malala's father as an education attache.

Her parents and younger brothers, Khushal and Atul, traveled to England in the fall to be with her as she goes through the long rehabilitation process.

Ziauddin Yousafzai will function as head of the consulate's education section for three years, the Pakistani government said. His job could be extended for two additional years.

iReport: Your messages for Malala

The 15-year-old became an international symbol of courage after she was shot by Taliban gunmen last fall for her crusade about girls going to school.

She had blogged fearlessly about girls' education and accused the Taliban of thriving on ignorance. The Taliban forbid girls in the classroom and have threatened to kill anyone who defies them.

Pakistan's Malala: Global symbol, but still just a kid

Malala was in a school van in the area on October 9 when the gunmen stopped the vehicle and demanded that other girls tell them who was Malala. They identified her. Malala was then shot, as were two other girls who survived the attack with lesser injuries.

Malala was left in a critical condition, with her father later describing her survival as a miracle.

When he left Pakistan to join his daughter, Ziauddin Yousafzai told reporters he intended to return to his native country as soon as she had recovered. It is not clear whether his appointment will mean the entire family stays long term.

At the time of his daughter's shooting, he ran a school in Pakistan's conservative Swat Valley that kept its doors open to girls -- in defiance of the Taliban.

Watch: Who are the Pakistani Taliban?

The attack on Malala prompted outrage and wide outpourings of support, in Pakistan and overseas.

But even as anger about her shooting intensified, the Taliban issued a statement online saying that if Malala lived, they'd come after her again.

Interior Minister Rehman Malik promised government protection if the schoolgirl does return to Pakistan. Pakistani authorities are paying for her medical care in Britain.

Since her shooting, Malala has become an international figure. She was selected as runner-up for Time magazine's Person of the Year for 2012. CNN and Time are owned by Time Warner Inc.

Read more: Malala's journey from near death to recovery

      Malala's battle

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      The teen blogger simply wanted an education. But she became a symbol of defiance against militants, empowering young women worldwide.
    • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban, sits before she speaks at the United Nations (UN) Youth Assembly on July 12, 2013 in New York City.

      More than three million girls are out of school in Pakistan, while spending on education has decreased to 2.3 percent of GDP in 2010.
    • Malala Yousafzai, the 16-year-old Pakistani advocate for girls education who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012, officially opens The Library of Birmingham in Birmingham, central England, on September 3, 2013.

      The Pakistani Taliban issues a new death threat against Malala, who turns the other cheek.
    • Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai was able to stand up and communicate on Friday, October 19.

      Hundreds of messages from around the world were received by CNN for Malala Yousufzai, the Pakistani teen activist attacked by the Taliban.
    • Pakistani NGOs activists carry placards as they shout slogans at an event on International Human Rights Day in Lahore on December 10, 2012.

      Pakistan has a new heroine and a new cause -- a girl's right to education. Now the government vows to get every child into school by end 2015.