Qamar Gul, 15, said the incident occurred last week when a group of Taliban militants stormed her house and executed her parents for allegedly supporting the Afghan government. Fighting back against the Taliban, the young Gul grabbed her father’s AK-47 rifle and killed two of the Taliban fighters and injured another.
“They broke the door and took my mother and father out and shot them in front of our eyes,” Gul told a group of reporters in a news conference at the Ghor governor’s office in Feroz Koh on Wednesday.
“Then I had to take my father’s gun, killed two of them and injured another,” she said, adding that she and her younger brother, Habibullah, continued fighting back until local villagers came to their rescue and forced out the Taliban militants.
A VOA correspondent who attended the news conference said that Afghan officials moved Gul and her brother from their home village of Geriveh to Feroz Koh, the capital of the province, to protect them from a possible Taliban retaliation. The siblings are also set to meet President Ashraf Ghani in Kabul.
The Taliban have denied that two of their fighters were killed in the reported clash. They said their fighters have engaged in gunfire with local police in the Taywara district.
According to The New York Times, the rare battle between Gul and the Taliban was also a family feud. The newspaper has reported that one of the Taliban fighters killed by the teenager was her husband.
Gul’s action has been widely celebrated in Afghanistan as an act of heroism and a symbol of Afghan women’s resilience. A picture of Qamar Gul holding an AK-47 has gone viral on Afghan social media.
The governor of Ghor province, Noor Mohammad Kohnaward, during a meeting with Gul at his office Wednesday vowed to extend the government’s full support to her.
“The government of Afghanistan praises you. Afghan women are proud of your heroism, courage and bravery,” Kohnaward told Gul.
Hassan Hakimi, a local resident of Ghor province, said that the government should present Gul with the Malalai Medal. He added that “government should pave the way for her education and a peaceful and prosperous life.”
According to Afghan human rights officials, Taliban fighters frequently target civilians for alleged loyalty to the Afghan government.
Zabihullah Farhang, a spokesperson for Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC), told VOA that from March to mid-April, 83 civilians were killed and 119 wounded in target killing incidents, with the Taliban being responsible for half of the attacks.
“They think that civilians are only those who are unemployed, shopkeeping or farming. The Taliban do not count those who work with the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Mining or are employees of the government as civilians,” Farhang added.
AIHRC has counted 1,213 civilian deaths and 1,744 injuries during the first six months of 2020, a significant number of civilian casualties despite the U.S.-Taliban peace agreement in February.