GHAZNI -- An Afghan girl who fatally shot two Taliban fighters after they gunned down her parents said she is 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 remote village in Ghor Province.
"I no longer fear them, and I'm ready to fight them again," Gul told AFP by telephone from a relative's home, where guards were watching her.
A photo of Gul posing with a gun has circulated online, with many praising her actions and calling for her safe passage out of the country.
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 house.
"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," said Gul, who was taught by her father how to fire an AK-47 assault rifle.
Her brother stepped in 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 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.
Officials told AFP that the Taliban had come to kill Gul's father, who was the village chief, because he supported the government.
The insurgents regularly kill villagers whom they suspect of being informers for the government or security forces, with Taywara District, where Gul's remote village is situated, the scene of near-daily clashes between government forces and the Taliban.
"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."
Hundreds of users of social media are demanding the government protect her, with some calling for her to be sent outside Afghanistan.
"I demand that the president help transfer her to a safe place as her and her family's security is at risk," Fawzia Koofi, a former member of the Wolesi Jirga from Badakhshan Province, wrote on Facebook.
On Thursday (July 23), Gul was transported to Kabul where government officials and a group of Afghan women welcomed her.
Gul's "brave act" was a message to the Taliban from Afghan women, said Defence Ministry official Munera Yousufzada.
"The Taliban must realise and know that today's women are different from the women during their rule," she tweeted in Dari.
President Ashraf Ghani praised Gul for "defending her family against a ruthless enemy", Ghani spokesman Sediq Sediqqi told AFP.
A Taliban spokesman 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.