Ghazni, Afghanistan: An Afghan girl who shot dead two Taliban fighters after they gunned down her parents said on Wednesday she was ready to confront any other insurgents who might try to attack her.
Qamar Gul, 15, killed the militants when they stormed her home last week in a village in the Taywara district of the central province of Ghor.
"I no longer fear them and I'm ready to fight them again," Gul told AFP by telephone from a relative's home.
It was about midnight when the Taliban arrived, Gul said, recounting the events of that night.
She was asleep in her room with her 12-year-old brother when she heard the sound of men pushing at the door of their home.
"My mother ran to stop them but by then they had already broken the door," Gul said.
"They took my father and mother outside and shot them several times. I was terrified".
But moments later, "anger took over", she said.
"I picked up the gun we had at home, went to the door and shot them".
Gul said her brother helped when one of the insurgents, who appeared to be the group's leader, tried to return fire.
"My brother took the gun from me and hit (shot) him. The fighter ran away injured, only to return later," Gul said.
By then, several villagers and pro-government militiamen had arrived at the house. The Taliban eventually fled following a lengthy firefight.
The insurgents regularly kill villagers they suspect of being informers for the government or security forces.
Taywara district, where Gul's village is located, is a remote area with sporadic communication and the scene of near-daily clashes between government forces and the Taliban.
Gul said her father had taught her how to shoot an AK-47 assault rifle.
"I am proud I killed my parents' murderers," she said.
"I killed them because they killed my parents, and also because I knew they would come for me and my little brother."
Gul regrets she was unable to say goodbye to her mother and father.
"After I killed the two Taliban, I went to talk to my parents, but they were not breathing," she said.
"I feel sad, I could not talk to them one last time."
Afghans have flooded social media to praise Gul, and a photo of her wearing a headscarf and holding an AK-47 has been shared widely.
Hundreds of people have called on the government to protect Gul and her family.
"I demand that the president help transfer her to a safe place as her and her family's security is at risk," prominent women's rights activist and former lawmaker Fawzia Koofi wrote on Facebook.
President Ashraf Ghani also praised Gul for "defending her family against a ruthless enemy", his spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.
A Taliban spokesman has confirmed an operation took place in the area of the attack, but denied any of the group's fighters had been killed by a woman.