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Grieving Afghan Mother 'Kills 10 Taliban In Revenge'

Rezagul says her daughter, daughter-in-law, and youngest son also joined her in fending off the assault.

An Afghan mother has described how her son's killing at the hands of the Taliban spurred her to fight off the insurgents in a gunbattle that left more than two dozen militants dead.

Rezagul says she grabbed a gun and hand grenades to help police fend off a Taliban assault after her son, a 27-year-old police officer, was killed by militants who raided a security checkpoint in western Farah Province on November 17.

"I was so enraged that I took a gun and started firing at them, and I kept throwing hand grenades," Rezagul told RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan. "I was hitting anyone who was coming at us. They were firing and firing at us, we were firing back."

Rezagul, who goes by one name, estimates that she alone "must have killed some 10 Taliban" in the fighting in Farah's Bala Buluk district.

The Ganjabad checkpoint -- adjacent to Rezagul's house -- was being manned by Rezagul's husband, Abdul Sattar, their son, and two other police officers when the insurgents launched their assault early in the morning.

Local officials said the attack on Ganjabad was part of a broader offensive by the Taliban that launched several simultaneous attacks on Bala Buluk that day.

"It started around five in the morning. They were attacking with Kalashnikovs, hand grenades, and all kinds of different weapons," Rezagul says. With two police officers in her family, the housewife was familiar with weapons, although she says she had never used them before.

Rezagul says her daughter, daughter-in-law, and youngest son also joined her in fending off the assault. "I was helping [policemen] to put bullets into their Kalashnikovs," says Fatima, Rezagul's daughter-in-law. "And I was also throwing hand grenades. I was wounded in my leg. My husband was martyred that day."

The women say the fighting continued until late in the evening when the militants withdrew.

Local security officials said a total of 27 militants were killed and 32 others wounded in the Bala Buluk fighting.

Farah police chief Abdul Razzaq Yaqoobi corroborated Rezagul's account and praised the family, "especially the brave Afghan women," for their "exceptional courage and heroism."

Mullah Said Mohammad, the district governor, said Taliban militants had also stormed the headquarters of the regional government and district police, as well as several security outposts, prompting heavy clashes with security forces.

The officials claim some 700 Taliban fighters took part in the attacks. The figures cannot be independently confirmed.

There's been no comment from the Taliban. Officials say the militant group, which swiftly claims deadly attacks, stays largely silent when its raids fail.

Rezagul says her family house was almost entirely destroyed in the fighting. "We lost everything: our money, the dishes, windows, everything was burnt down," she says. "Everything was leveled."

"But we defended the outpost," she says proudly. The family now lives in a one-story mud-brick house, provided for them by provincial authorities.

Rezagul's youngest child, 15-year-old Sardar Mohammad, who helped the women by carrying them bullets and hand grenades, told local media, "We will never let the Taliban win."

Written by Farangis Najibullah based on reporting by RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan correspondent Ahmad Fitrat in Farah
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    Farangis Najibullah

    Farangis Najibullah is a senior correspondent for RFE/RL who has reported on a wide range of topics from Central Asia, including the region’s ongoing struggle with the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impact. She has extensively covered efforts by Central Asian states to repatriate their citizens who joined Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.