Malalai Yusufzai, a 14-year-old education rights activist, has been shot and injured while on her way home from school in Mingora, the main town in the Swat Valley region of northwest Pakistan.
She was with one other girl, taking a school van home following an examination at the Khushal public school, witnesses said.
Unidentified men stopped the vehicle, asking if it was the transport from Khushal school. When told that it was, one man asked: "Where is Malalai?"
As she was identified, the assailant reportedly drew a pistol and shot Malalai in the head and the neck. Her friend was shot in the hand.
The Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, also known as the Pakistani Taliban, has since claimed responsibility for the attack.
Malalai rose to international prominence in 2009, after writing a diary - under a pen-name - for BBC Urdu about life under the Taliban. She had famously stood against the armed group's attempts to stop girls from going to school, and was awarded the National Peace Award for Youth.
The international children's advocacy group KidsRights Foundation nominated her for the International Children's Peace Prize, making her the first Pakistani girl nominated for the award.
Malalai has been airlifted from the Swat Valley by a military helicopter, and will receive further treatment at a military hospital in Peshawar.
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