In his 10 short years, Wasil Ahmad was named a hero by the Afghan government for leading the fight against a Taliban siege. When the siege was over, the government dressed him in a police uniform, hung plastic flowers around his neck, and handed him a helmet and gun. "A program was held at the police headquarters, where his bravery and courage was talked about by officials," a provincial council chief tells the New York Times. "I was against this move … He is too young to hand him a gun." Though a neighbor says the hubbub left Wasil with little interest in school, his family recently enrolled him as a fourth-grader at a school in Tirin Kot. It was there, outside his home, that he was assassinated by the Taliban with two shots to the head, the group announced on Monday.
"There was no threat from this child to the armed opposition," says a rep for the Afghan independent human rights commission, noting government forces and insurgents illegally use child soldiers. "Possibly he took up arms to take revenge for his father's death, but it was illegal for the police to declare him a hero and reveal his identity, especially to the insurgents," he adds, per CBS News. Wasil's father was originally a Taliban fighter but switched sides along with his brother, Mullah Abdul Samad, then a Taliban commander. Samad was given control of 70 militiamen, 18 of whom died fighting the Taliban, including Wasil's father. When Samad became injured, Wasil took over. "He was successfully leading my men on my behalf for 44 days until I recovered," Samad says. "He fought like a miracle."