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Sunday
Oct062013

Malala Yousafzai Describes Moment She Was Shot by Taliban

UN Photo/Amanda Voisard(BIRMINGHAM, England) -- Before Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai was shot in the head by a Taliban assassin, she told her best friend, "Don't worry. The Taliban have never come for a small girl."

In Malala's new book, the 16-year-old worldwide symbol for peace and education details the day she was shot point-blank on her way home from school.

Malala was 11 years old when she took a stand against the Taliban, who had issued an edict that all girls' schools should be closed. She began advocating for the right to go to school, writing an anonymous blog for the BBC and appearing in a New York Times documentary.

Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, ran a girls' school in the SWAT Valley, and had been targeted for death by the Taliban. And Malala's increasing visibility put her at risk as well.

"I wasn't scared, but I had started making sure the gate was locked at night and asking God what happens when you die," Malala wrote in her autobiography I Am Malala, excerpted in Sunday's Parade magazine.

Before the shooting, Malala wrote that she considered what she would do if a terrorist jumped out and shot her.

"Maybe I'd take off my shoes and hit him," she wrote. "But then I'd think that if I did that, there would be no difference between me and a terrorist."

"It would be better to plead, 'Okay, shoot me, but first listen to me. What you are doing is wrong. I'm not against you personally. I just want every girl to go to school.'"

On Oct. 9, 2012, Malala was on the bus on her way home from school when a "young, bearded man" stepped into the road. Her best friend, Moniba, thought it was a reporter wanting to talk to Malala.

The bus was a white three-bench Toyota truck with 20 girls and three teachers packed inside.

The masked man approached the vehicle and demanded, "Who is Malala?" No one said anything, but several girls looked at Malala. She was the only one with her face uncovered.

"That's when he lifted up a black pistol," she wrote. "Some of the girls screamed. Moniba tells me I squeezed her hand."

"My friends say he fired three shots," Malala continued. "The first went through my left eye socket and out under my left shoulder. I slumped forward onto Moniba, blood coming from my left ear, so the other two bullets hit the girls next to me ... My friends later told me the gunman's hand was shaking as he fired."

The bullet narrowly missed Malala's brain and she was taken to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, six days after the attack. She spent nearly three months in the hospital and underwent numerous surgeries.

Now Malala and her family are living in Birmingham and she is back at school. She spent her 16th birthday giving a speech at the United Nations and has become the youngest person to ever be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

She has also founded the Malala Fund, a nonprofit organization that advocates for and supports girls education around the world through grants and partner collaborations.

Malala is dedicated to devoting her life to her cause.

"It feels like this life is not my life. It's a second life," she said. "People have prayed to God to spare me and I was spared for a reason -- to use my life for helping people."

Her book I Am Malala will be released Oct. 8.

The official spokesman for Pakistan Taliban told ABC News that the group didn't target Yousafzai because of her advocacy of education for girls but because she "attacked Islam," and the group would try to kill her again if they could.

"We targeted Malala Yousafzai because she attacked Islam and make a jokes on Islam, if we found her again then we would definitely try to kill her and will feel proud on her death," Shahidullah Shahid told ABC News. "We didn't target her for spreading education in her area, we targeted her for making jokes of Islam, and that was enough reason for attacking her."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio