The Taliban today used force to disperse a small demonstration in support of women's rights by firing into the air and dispersing protesters, according to AFP reporters who were eyewitnesses.
A group of six young women gathered outside a high school in eastern Kabul to demand the right of girls to education after the hardline Islamists seized power. banned to girls to go to school.
The women unfurled a banner that read: "Do not break our pencils, do not burn our books, do not close our schools" along with a photo showing young girls in hijabs (headscarves) in a school room.
The Taliban snatched their banner, while a foreign journalist was shot by a rifle and banned from filming.
A Taliban member even fired into the air with his automatic weapon, AFP reporters said.
The protesters, members of a group called the "Spontaneous Movement of Afghan Women Activists", took refuge inside the school.
A Taliban member, Mawlawi Nasratullah, who described himself as the head of special forces in Kabul, said the protesters "did not cooperate with security forces regarding the demonstration". "They have the right to demonstrate in our country, as in any other country. "But they should inform the security authorities first," he said.
Since the Taliban came to power, there have been isolated demonstrations with women on the front lines in various cities across the country, including the western city of Herat, where two people were killed by gunfire.
But the protests have declined since the government issued a decree against unlicensed protests warning those who do not comply with "serious legal consequences".
It has been almost two weeks since girls were barred from going to High School.
The Taliban follow a strict interpretation of Islamic Sharia law, which separates men from women, and have banned women from accessing work.
They have said they want the right conditions before the girls return to class, but many Afghans have reservations.