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Afghan girl shot dead Taliban fighters who killed her parents, say officials

An Afghan girl shot dead three Taliban fighters after they killed her parents because they supported the government, local officials have said.

The incident happened last week when a group of 40 insurgents stormed the village of Geriveh, in central Ghor province, where 16-year-old Qamar Gul was living with her parents and brother.

Officials said the fighters, who were looking for Gul’s father, knocked on the door at 1am on 17 July.

“The insurgents came to their doorstep and her mother went to see who was knocking,” said Mohamed Aref Aber, a spokesman for the provincial governor. “When she saw that they were armed, she refused to open the door.”

Aber said Gul’s mother was immediately shot dead by the attackers, who then entered the house and shot at her father.

According to Aber, Qamar Gul witnessed the death of her parents, picked up her father’s rifle and shot and killed three insurgents. She then started a one-hour battle with the Taliban alongside her 12-year-old brother, Habibullah, he added.

Several other Taliban fighters reportedly joined the attack, but some villagers and pro-government militia men expelled them after a gunfight.

Afghan officials have taken Qamar Gul and her younger brother to a safe place in the provincial capital.

“They were in shock in the first two days and could not talk too much, but are in a good condition now,” Aber said. “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.”

The Afghan government praised Qamar’s bravery at a cabinet meeting, and the president, Ashraf Ghani, has invited the children to the presidential palace.

“When I saw them that night, they were shocked but were feeling honoured,” said Mohammad Rafiq Alam, the district governor.

Since the incident, a photograph of Qamar Gul wearing a headscarf and holding a machine gun across her lap has gone viral on social media.

“We know parents are irreplaceable, but your revenge will give you relative peace,” one user wrote in a Facebook post. “They received two titles at one night: heroes and orphans,” another posted. “She is a symbol of bravery and resistance,” said another.

At least 100,000 Afghans are estimated to have died in conflict since 2001 when the US ousted the Taliban from power.

The Taliban regularly kill villagers whom they suspect of being informers for the government or security forces. In recent months the militants have also stepped up their attacks against security forces, despite having agreed to peace talks with Kabul.

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