Afghan girls return to school in Herat

Local channel Shamshad News showed the girls entering the gates of Tajrobawai Girls High School, freely walking about within the school compound and taking lessons in classrooms.

Taliban leaders have made reassurances in the build-up up to and aftermath of their stunning conquest of Afghanistan that girls and women would have the right to work and education, although they have come with caveats.

When the Taliban first ruled Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, their strict interpretation of sharia, or Islamic law - sometimes brutally enforced - dictated that women could not work and girls were not allowed to attend school.

On Tuesday (August 18), at the Taliban's first press conference since seizing Kabul on Sunday (August 15), a Taliban spokesperson said women would have rights to education, health and employment and that they would be "happy" within the framework of sharia.