Malala Yousufzai
Undated file photo of Malala Yousufzai, a 14-year-old schoolgirl, who was wounded in a gun attack in Swat Valley northwest Pakistan

The teenaged Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban is reported to be in a critical but stable condition, after doctors removed a bullet.

Doctors say surgery on 14-year-old activist Malala Yousufzai has been a success. She is now in a semi-conscious state in a Peshawar military hospital, but is not on a ventilator.

The doctors are yet to decide whether to fly Malala, a blogger who was won several international awards for her accounts of the Taliban's atrocities, abroad for further treatment.

"The bullet has been successfully removed from her head after a five-hour-long operation, but she is still in critical condition and could be shifted abroad," said one of the doctors after the surgery.

Junaid Younus, managing director of Pakistan International Airlines, has said his company has finalised all arrangements to airlift Malala overseas. Reports suggests she could be taken to Dubai.

'Cowardly and barbaric'

Malala is said to have suffered serious cerebrovascular injuries in the attack, which took place when she was walking home from school in the Swat valley, a region on the Pakistan-Afghanistan border which is strongly influenced by the Taliban.

Malala was travelling home with two friends, both of whom were shot and injured by the Taliban gunmen.

Defending the attack, Taliban spokesperson Ehsanullah Ehsan told Reuters: "[Malala] was pro-West, she was speaking against Taliban and she was calling President Obama her ideal leader. She was young but she was promoting Western culture in Pashtun areas."

The teenage activist, who began writing a blog about the Taliban when she was 11, received threats from the insurgents on a regular basis before she was attacked.

The incident has shaken Pakistan and drawn worldwide condemnation. US State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland said that "directing violence at children is barbaric. It's cowardly. And our hearts go out to [Malala] and the others who were wounded, as well as their families.

Human rights groups and political parties in Pakistan have also condemned the shooting.

The Taliban attacked the girl for bringing to light the militants' atrocities in Swat. The 14-year- old girl was shot by gunmen while she was heading back home by her school bus. Two other girls were injured in the attack.