Malala's best friend praying for her recovery after pair attacked

Kainat Riaz speaking from Pakistan's Swat Valley Credit: ITV News

Kainat Riaz has said she is praying for her best friend, Malala Yousufzai, after the pair were attacked by Taliban gunmen on their way home from school three weeks ago.

Speaking on a webcam, she told ITV News: "I miss Malala ... I am praying for Malala."

Kainat was shot in the arm in the same attack that left Malala fighting for her life.

ITV News' Social Affairs Editor Penny Marshall reports:

Both schoolgirls live in the Swat valley in northern Pakistan - an area that used to be a Taliban stronghold but was largely reclaimed by government forces three years ago.

There is still a threat of attacks by the Taliban, especially on the schools for girls that are becoming more common again.

The Taliban deliberately targeted Malala for her campaigning work on womens' education in Pakistan.

Malala is said to be responding well to treatment at a hospital in Birmingham. Her father Ziauddin said recently that "she will rise again".

Malala Yousufzai with her father Ziauddin and her two younger brothers at the The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham Credit: REUTERS/Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham/Handout

Soon after the attack, Taliban spokesman Ehsanullah Ehsan told the BBC Urdu Service that Malala was shot because she was anti-Taliban and secular.

When Kainat was asked whether she was afraid to return to school, she was unequivocal: "Education is very important for girls and we ... need education. More, more, more".