KABUL (AFP) – Taliban fighters fired into the air on Saturday (Aug 13) to disperse a rare women’s protest in the Afghan capital, days ahead of the first anniversary of the hardline Islamists’ return to power.

About 40 women – chanting “Bread, work and freedom” – marched in front of the Education Ministry building in Kabul, before the fighters dispersed them by firing their guns into the air.

Some women protesters who took refuge in nearby shops were chased and beaten by Taliban fighters with their rifle butts.

The protesters carried a banner that read “August 15 is a black day” – in reference to the upcoming anniversary – as they demanded rights to work and political participation.

“Justice, justice. We’re fed up with ignorance,” chanted the protesters before they dispersed.