Qamar Gul is a teenage Afghan girl who shot dead two Taliban militants after they gunned down her parents in a remote village in the central province of Ghor in Afghanistan in the midnight of July 17, 2020.
Biography & Family
Qamar Gul was born in 2005 (age 15 years; as of 2020) in a remote village of Taiwara district in Afghanistan. She grew up in her hillside home in western Afghanistan where she lived along with her parents, Fatima (mother) and Shah Gul Rahimi (father), and her 12-year-old brother Habibullah. Before getting married to Qamar Gul’s father, Shah Gul Rahimi, her mother had married twice. The first husband of her mother was a laborer in Iran who died young of an overdose. Fatima’s second husband was a local commander who was killed in clashes with the Taliban in the 1990s. After the commander was killed, his younger brother, Shah Gul Rahimi, took the responsibilities of his elder brother’s family and got married to his widow, Fatima. Fatima and Shah Gul Rahimi had two children together, Qamar Gul, and her 12-year-old brother Habibullah. Qamar Gul has a half-brother from her mother’s first marriage who is a police officer in Afghanistan.
The Taliban Attack
On July 17, 2020, in the early hours after midnight, when Qamar Gul was asleep in her room with her 12-year-old brother, her hillside home in a remote village in the central province of Ghor in western Afghanistan was raided by the Taliban militants. After surrounding the hillside home, the militants barged in. When her father, Shah Gul Rahimi, came out of the hallway to see what was going on there, he was shot dead on the spot; he received six bullet injuries. When her mother, Fatima, rushed to seek help after her husband was killed, she was also shot dead by the militants who plunged three bullets in her body; two in her chest, and one in the neck.
The Afghan Girl With AK-47
After her parents were killed by the militants at the midnight of July 17, 2020, Qamar Gul grabbed her father’s AK-47, rushed to the doorway, and started firing at the militants indiscriminately. She shot dead two militants and wounded the senior Taliban commander. While recalling the incident, Gul said,
They took my father and mother outside and shot them several times. I was terrified. I picked up the gun we had at home, went to the door and shot them.”
According to Qamar Gul, when the wounded senior Taliban commander tried to return fire, her 12-year-old brother Habibullah stepped in and hit him. Later, the militants fled the scene as neighbors began arriving. While talking about it, Gul said,
My brother took the gun from me and hit (shot) him. The fighter ran away injured, only to return later.”
According to Qamar Gul, she learned how to fire an AK-47 assault rifle from her father, Shah Gul Rahimi.
A Hero Among Afghan Women
After Qamar Gul’s heroic battle against the Taliban militants, Afghan social media celebrated her with slick posters of “My Hero.” Gul was also compared to the Kurdish women of Kobani in Syria, who fought a long battle against the Islamic State. Local officials in Gul’s hometown put out pictures of Qamar Gul in which she was seen holding an AK-47 assault rifle. The Vice President of Afghanistan, Amrullah Saleh, also praised Qamar Gul for defending against “the enemies of the nation.” Two days after the attack, the provincial governor of Ghor put out a statement praising Qamar Gul and her brother’s heroic act against the Taliban; the statement read –
Qamar Gul and her 12-year old brother had defeated an “offensive attack” by the “Taliban terrorist group” and forced the “bloodthirsty Taliban to flee, leaving behind two of their dead in the battlefield.”
A Family Feud
According to a story published in The New York Times, the attack at Qamar Gul’s home was linked to a family feud, and one of the attackers, identified as Mohamed Naeem, was the husband of Qamar Gul. The family feud unfolds with the friendship between Gul’s father Shah Gul Rahimi and Mohamed Naeem. Later, Shah Gul Rahimi married his daughter (Qamar Gul) to Mohamed Naeem as his second wife, and in exchange, he got married to Mr. Naeem’s teenage niece as his second wife. Later, Shah Gul Rahimi became a guarantor for Mr. Naeem who needed a loan of about $3,000. Later, in a move, that is not exactly clear, Mohamed Naeem joined the Taliban after he became debt-ridden, and his private life became tumultuous. According to villagers, Mohamed Naeem’s first wife was not happy over her husband’s extra attention towards his second wife, Qamar Gul, and they would often have a fight over it. After one such fight, Mohamed Naeem left his home along with Qamar Gul. Reportedly, the feud started when Shah Gul Rahimi’s second wife (Mr. Naeem’s teenage niece) returned to her home and refused to go back to her husband’s home because she didn’t want to live with him as he was much older than her in age. Later, when Qamar Gul visited her home, her father refused her to send her to her husband’s home until his second wife returned to him and Mr. Naeem paid the $3,000 debt for which he was being harassed. However, Mohamed Naeem didn’t want to pay back the debt, and he conspired to attack at Qamar Gul’s home with the help of a ruthless Taliban commander in Ghor with whom he had developed a close contact, and they decided to make a surprise attack in the early hours after midnight on July 17, 2020.