Girls wearing white hijabs and black tunics crammed into classrooms in the western Afghan city of Herat just days after the Taliban’s takeover. As the school opened its doors, the students scurried down corridors and chatted in courtyards, seemingly oblivious to the turmoil that has engulfed the country in the past two weeks. The scenes — which many feared would be banned under the Taliban — were filmed by an AFP cameraman this week, just days after fighters from the hardline Islamist group took the city following the collapse of government forces and local militia. “We want to progress like other countries,” said student Roqia. “And we hope the Taliban will maintain security. We don’t want war, we want peace in our country.”With its close proximity to the Iranian border, the ancient Silk Road city of Herat has long been a cosmopolitan exception to more conservative centres. Women and girls walked more freely in the streets, attending schools and colleges in huge numbers in a city famed for its poetry and arts.