Wasil Ahmad, 10, the heroic Afghan boy who defended his village by launching a rocket at Taliban troops has been killed by an assassin from the terrorist group.
Local officials announced on Feb. 3 Wasil was fatally shot in the head while buying groceries in Tirin Kot, the capital of the Uruzgan province, according to NBC News.
The boy was pronounced dead after he was airlifted to Kandahar, according to provincial police chief Gen. Ghulam Sakhi Roghlewanai who said Wasil’s killing was targeted.
"He was a hero and will remain a hero," said Roghlewanai, reports NBC News. "Unfortunately he died too early for his age."
In a statement on Feb. 1, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the death and called Wasil “a stooge militiaman.”
The 10-year-old was known for fighting the Taliban with his uncle on many occasions, according to Daily Mail.
Deputy police chief of Uruzgan province, Rahimullah Khan, said Ahmad's uncle was previously a Taliban commander, but switched loyalty to the government and was chosen to be local police commander in the Khas Uruzgan district.
Pictures on social media show Wasil wearing a uniform and helmet, carrying an automatic weapon.
Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission spokesman Rafiullah Baidar said the boy may have “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.”
“One side made him famous and the other side killed him -- both sides ignored the law and acted illegally,” he said, reports Daily Mail.
"He took charge of the group defending the village, he was the main point of contact through radio communications and actively coordinated the rescue operation by Special Forces," said Gen. Toryalai Abdyani, who was the chief of police for the province at the time.
Nonprofit organization Child Soldiers International says the government and armed groups have been drafting children for years, although the use of child soldiers is banned in Afghanistan.
Children recruited into armed conflict or by extremist groups are susceptible to sexual abuse, according to the organization.
The government has “failed to implement proactive mechanisms to identify, verify and release children” who had been drafted, says the organization.