Taliban fighters look confused as protesting women blow past them unintimidated

Hundreds of people, many of them women, protested against the Taliban's rule in Afghanistan this week, according to reports.

Footage circulating on social media show protesters near the Pakistani Embassy in Kabul holding signs saying "#SanctionPakistan" and "#StandWithPanjshir." Video has also emerged of Taliban fighters firing into the air to disperse the protests.

One video shows Afghan women refusing to be intimidated by armed Taliban fighters who were trying to hold back their march.

"I have come today to ask why Pakistan is destroying Panjshir. I am from Panjshir," a Kabul protester told a reporter, according to NBC News. "People need to express their anger, men and women, they must not stay silent."

But protest organizers cancelled rallies in Kabul on Thursday after the Taliban effectively banned demonstrations, warning violators "will face severe legal action".

Earlier this week armed fighters dispersed hundreds of protesters in cities across Afghanistan, including the capital Kabul, Faizabad in the northeast and in Herat in the west, where two people were shot dead.

Late Wednesday, the Taliban moved to snuff out any further civil unrest, saying protests would need prior authorization from the justice ministry, adding "for the time being" no demonstrations were allowed.

There was a noticeably stronger Taliban presence on the streets of Kabul on Thursday morning as armed fighters -- including special forces in military fatigues -- stood guard on street corners and manned checkpoints, according to AFP journalists.

An organiser of a protest outside the Pakistan embassy -- where gunmen sprayed shots into the air on Tuesday to disperse a rally -- told AFP on Thursday it had been cancelled because of the overnight ban.

At the site of another planned protest in the city, there were no signs of a demonstration.

With additional reporting from AFP