The father of a Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education said on Friday his daughter was strong and would "rise again" to pursue her dreams after receiving treatment in a British hospital.
Malala Yousafzai, 15, was flown from Pakistan to the British city of Birmingham to receive specialist treatment after the October 9 attack which drew widespread international condemnation.
She has become a powerful symbol of resistance to the radical Islamist group's effort to deny women an education.
Her father, Ziauddin Yousafzai, and other family members flew to Britain on Thursday to help their daughter's recovery.
"They wanted to kill her. But she fell temporarily. She will rise again. She will stand again," he said, his voice wavering and breaking with emotion as he spoke.
"It's a miracle for us ... She was in a very bad condition," he told reporters, sitting alongside his son.
"She is improving with encouraging speed."
Yousafzai began standing up to the Pakistani Taliban when she was 11, when the Islamabad government had effectively ceded control of the Swat Valley where she lives to the militants.
She has been in critical condition since gunmen shot her in the head and neck as she left school in Swat, northwest of Islamabad.
British doctors say she has every chance of making a good recovery at the special hospital unit, expert in dealing with complex trauma cases. It has treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in Afghanistan.
Her father said he and his family cried when they were finally reunited with Malala on Thursday. "We are very happy," he said. "I pray for her."
© Thomson Reuters 2012