In this undated file photo provided by Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, England, Malala Yousufzai reads a book as she continues her recovery at the hospital. -AP Photo

LONDON: Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousufzai who was shot in the head by the Taliban for advocating girls' education has undergone successful surgery at a British hospital to reconstruct her skull and help restore lost hearing.

A team of doctors carried out a five-hour operation on Saturday on the 15-year-old, who was shot in October and brought to Britain for treatment.

The procedures carried out were cranial reconstruction, aimed at mending parts of her skull with a titanium plate, and a cochlear implant designed to restore hearing on her left side, which was damaged in the attack.

“Both operations were a success and Malala is now recovering in hospital,” said a statement on Sunday from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham, central England, where she is being treated.

The girl's condition was described as stable and the statement said her medical team were very pleased with the progress she has made. “She is awake and talking to staff and members of her family,” it added.

The attack on Yousufzai, who was shot in the head at point blank range as she left school in the Swat valley, drew widespread international condemnation.

She has become an international symbol of resistance to the Taliban's efforts to deny women education and other rights, and more than 250,000 people have signed online petitions calling for her to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize.

Yousufzai will now continue recuperating at the Queen Elizabeth hospital, which has a specialist unit where doctors have treated hundreds of soldiers wounded in conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq, the hospital statement said.

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