Homecoming

Malala returns to Pakistan 6 years after being brutally attacked by the Taliban

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai of Pakistan listens to a question during a ceremony at the U.N. headquarters in New York on April 10, 2017. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Malala Yousafzai made a triumphant return to her home country, arriving at Benazir Bhutto International airport in Islamabad, Pakistan. It was nearly six years ago that masked Taliban gunmen boarded Malala’s school bus in Mingora in Pakistan’s Swat Valley and shot her in the head and neck from point-blank range. She was 15 years old at the time.

The attempt on her life left her critically wounded. Doctors put her in an induced coma and she was airlifted out of the country and taken to Great Britain where she received treatment and began making a remarkable recovery. The Taliban targeted Malala because she attended school and was a vocal advocated for girls receiving an education, even blogging about her experiences for the BBC. She went on to complete her high school education in England, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014, making her the youngest to ever receive the honor, and enrolled in Oxford University last fall.

Malala, joined by her parents, arrived in Islamabad under heavy security given that the Taliban issued a fatwa against her in 2012 after the murder attempt failed, and vowed to kill her. Local news footage showed her arriving at the airport and then leaving in a motorcade. Her visit in Pakistan is expect to last four days and she met the prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, and several other officials.

She made some brief remarks at Abbasi’s office, The New York Times reported, saying, “I still can’t believe that it is actually happening. In the last five years, I have always dreamed of coming back to my country.” She reportedly broke down into tears as those on hand erupted in applause, before adding, “I am just 20 years old, but I have seen a lot in life. I never wanted to leave my country.”

Much of her itinerary is being kept secret due to security concerns. Malala was recently interviewed by David Letterman on his Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction. She told the talk show host that she missed “the rivers and mountains” of her homeland in the Swat Valley and that she wanted nothing more than for her “feet to touch the ground of home.”

Below, watch a few highlights from her interview with Letterman.

Read the full story at CNN.

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