A 16-year-old in Afghanistan is being hailed as a hero after she used an AK-47 to kill at least two Taliban fighters and injure others who had murdered her parents in front of her.
Qamar Gul was living with her parents and younger brother in the village of Geriveh, in central Ghor province, when a group of Taliban insurgents arrived at her home looking for her father. Gul’s father had expressed support for the Afghan government, and the fighters were out to kill him, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).
The Taliban “took both my father and mother out and shot them in front of my eyes,” Gul told reporters on Tuesday at the governor’s office in Feroz Koh, the provincial capital.
“I had no choice but to take my father’s gun and fire on them,” she said. “Two were killed and another of them was wounded.”
The teens both survived the attack and were taken to a safe place by government officials.
“They were in shock in the first two days and could not talk too much, but are in a good condition now,” said Mohamed Aref Aber, a spokesman for the provincial governor. “They are saying: ‘This was our right, because we did not need to live without our parents.’ They don’t have many relatives other than a half-brother who lives in the same village.”
There appear to be two slightly different accounts of the incident.
In one, as reported by local officials speaking to AFP, Gul’s mother and father were dragged out of their home and killed on the street by Taliban fighters after Gul’s mother resisted the insurgents. Gul then took her father’s AK-47, killed two fighters, and wounded several others.
“Qamar Gul, who was inside the house, took an AK-47 gun the family had and first shot dead the two Taliban fighters who killed her parents, and then injured a few others,” local police head Habiburahman Malekzada told AFP.
Later that day, another group of Taliban fighters attacked Gul’s home, but they were expelled by local villagers and pro-government militiamen during a firefight.
In the second version of the incident, as reported by Afghan officials speaking with The Guardian, a group of 40 Taliban insurgents arrived at Gul’s home and knocked on the door.
“The insurgents came to their doorstep and her mother went to see who was knocking,” Aber said. “When she saw that they were armed, she refused to open the door.”
The insurgents then shot Gul’s mother, entered the home, and shot and killed her father.
That’s when Gul picked up the AK-47 and engaged in a one-hour battle with the insurgents alongside her younger brother. She was joined by other villagers, who were eventually able to drive the Taliban away.
An image of Gul went viral on social media yesterday showing her holding an AK-47. Many have praised her as a hero.
“’Qamar Gul, who was inside the house, took an AK-47 gun the family had and first shot dead the two Taliban fighters who killed her parents, and then injured a few others,’ local police chief Habiburahman Malekzada said.”— Clifford Smith (@CliffSmithZBRDZ) July 22, 2020
This young woman is my hero.https://t.co/GIHGhahC3M
The Afghan government also praised Qamar’s bravery at a cabinet meeting, and the president, Ashraf Ghani, invited the children to the presidential palace, according to The Guardian.