Armed Taliban fighters ride PEDALOS on lake in Afghanistan national park

Armed Taliban fighters ride PEDALOS on lake in Afghanistan national park
Armed Taliban fighters ride PEDALOS on lake in Afghanistan national park

Taliban fighters have been pictured brandishing RPGs and assault rifles while riding pedalos - as protests take place across Afghanistan over the ban on girls returning to school. 

Images appear to show militants riding swan-themed vessels on the water at Band-e Amir National Park - once a hotspot for international travellers and domestic tourists - in central Afghanistan yesterday. 

The park contains a series of six deep blue lakes situated in the Hindu Kush mountains, roughly 45 miles from Bamiyan - formerly the home of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which the Taliban destroyed in 2001. 

Afghanistan's new Taliban rulers, who set up a ministry for the 'propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice' in the building that once housed the Women's Affairs Ministry, are now facing protests over the treatment of women and girls, just one month after overtaking the country's capital Kabul. 

On Saturday the Taliban excluded girls from returning to secondary school in but ordered boys and male teachers back to the classroom, again breaking their promise to bring about a less severe brand of rule than their 1990s predecessors.

During their previous rule of Afghanistan in the 1990s, the Taliban had denied girls and women the right to education and barred them from public life.

A statement from the education ministry last Friday demanded: 'All male teachers and students should attend their educational institutions.' It made no mention of female teachers or pupils.

Some Afghan women are now protesting the return to repression, with boys also refusing to attend class in solidarity. One boy was pictured in a Twitter post holding a sign that says: 'We don't go to school without our sisters'. 

Afghans voiced their support for the child in the post's replies, with one saying: 'Education is the right of every Afghan. We hope that the Taliban will allow our sisters to open schools as well.' 

Militants are seen riding swan-themed pedalos on the water at Band-e Amir National Park - once a hotspot for international travellers and domestic tourists - in central Afghanistan in the images uploaded by journalist and filmmaker Jake Hanrahan

Militants are seen riding swan-themed pedalos on the water at Band-e Amir National Park - once a hotspot for international travellers and domestic tourists - in central Afghanistan in the images uploaded by journalist and filmmaker Jake Hanrahan

The park contains a series of six deep blue lakes situated in the Hindu Kush mountains, roughly 45 miles from Bamiyan - formerly the home of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which the Taliban destroyed in 2001

 The park contains a series of six deep blue lakes situated in the Hindu Kush mountains, roughly 45 miles from Bamiyan - formerly the home of the Buddhas of Bamiyan, which the Taliban destroyed in 2001

Afghan women march to demand their rights under the Taliban rule during a demonstration near the former Women's Affairs Ministry building in Kabul today

Afghan women march to demand their rights under the Taliban rule during a demonstration near the former Women's Affairs Ministry building in Kabul today 

Afghan boys have been refusing to go to school, in solidarity with girls who have been prohibited. The boy here is holding a sign that says 'We don't go to school without our sisters', according to the BBC's Yalda Hakim, who uploaded the picture to Twitter

Afghan boys have been refusing to go to school, in solidarity with girls who have been prohibited. The boy here is holding a sign that says 'We don't go to school without our sisters', according to the BBC's Yalda Hakim, who uploaded the picture

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