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WASHINGTON (CBSMiami) – It was an emotional homecoming for Malala Yousafzai as she visited her native Pakistan for the first time since she was shot by Taliban militants in 2012.

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Yousafzai, 20, broke down in tears, calling it the happiest day of her life. She told an audience in Islamabad she never wanted to leave Pakistan and dreamed of the day she’d return.

“I can move on the streets. I can meet people, and I can talk to people, and I think it’s my old home again,” she said.

The Nobel Peace Prize winner left Pakistan six years ago when she was 14 and in the fight for her life. Taliban militants targeted her for defying their ban on the education of girls and shot her in the head as she rode home on her school bus.

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Yousafzai received medical treatment in Britain where she’s lived ever since and now attends Oxford University. She said she’s seen so much in her young life, but there are still many challenges to overcome.

“Education is the only solution,” she said.

Yousafzai’s return to Pakistan was shrouded in secrecy and under tight security. Her visit prompted a meeting with Pakistan’s Prime Minister and made headlines across the country.

Some, however, have condemned her, calling her a mouthpiece for the West.

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Yousafzai said she tries to ignore the critics and remains committed to promoting girls’ education at home and around the world.