This is a story that encompasses both a deadly tragedy and an act of bravery and heroism. It comes to us from Ghor province in the Hazarajat region of central Afghanistan, well to the west of Kabul. The events in question took place in the middle of the night last Friday at the home of 16-year-old Qamar Gul, her parents and her 12-year-old brother. At one o’clock in the morning, roughly 40 Taliban fighters entered their town and began assaulting people in their homes. Qamar’s father was the chief of the village and a known supporter of the current government and the American forces backing it up. Some of the terrorists began beating on the Guls’ door and things went downhill from there quickly. (NY Post)

They knocked on the door around 1 a.m. on July 17, according to the report.

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

The attackers quickly shot Gul’s mother, and then barged into the home where they fired at her father, according to Aber.

But thankfully the story didn’t end there. The teenage girl picked up her father’s AK-47 and gave as good as or better than she got. She killed at least two of the terrorists and injured several others. By then the village residents had marshaled a counterattack and the Taliban were forced to retreat.

“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,” the police official told AFP.

The Guardian later reported that three insurgents were killed, citing Aber.

Several other Taliban fighters later showed up to attack the home, but a group of villagers and pro-government militiamen engaged them in a gunfight, forcing them to retreat.

While revenge may seem appealing at the moment, nothing will replace the loss of the children’s parents. Even worse, Qamar now has a target on her back, probably for the rest of her life. Having fought back and killed some of the Taliban fighters was probably bad enough in the minds of the terrorists. But for a girl to do it… and a child, no less. Well, that’s not going to go over well with the Taliban.

Local officials said that Qamar and her brother had been moved to a safer location for the time being and they have only one other relative living in that village. That situation may hold for a while, but the Taliban has been known to strike many years after a perceived slight, so both of the children would likely be much safer if they could be relocated out of the country.

This incident should serve as a reminder that little or nothing has changed about the Taliban since the United States military first arrived there nearly 20 years ago. The terrorists are not just located in groups near where the fighting with the government and allied forces is taking place. They’re all over the country and they murder and terrorize their own people even more than they do their sworn enemies. Qamar’s father wasn’t any sort of soldier who had spilled the blood of the Taliban, at least according to this report. His only “sin” was to express support for the current American-backed government. And that was enough to bring a death sentence down upon his head.

But even in that darkest of moments, one young girl found something inside of her allowing her to stand up to the militants and keep her brother and herself alive. She’s now being celebrated as a heroic figure. I only pray that she lives long enough to get through her grieving and move on with her life.