Afghan woman
A bare-legged woman walks through Kabul's streets shocking the nation.Hayat Ensafi/Facebook

A young Afghan woman in Kabul has become the talk of the town after a local journalist snapped her walking through the city streets wearing a mid-length dress.

The photo of the woman, who remains unidentified, has gone viral, for it is unusual for women to step out in such dresses in Afghanistan, where they face restrictions on clothing and movement as well.

"I knew I had to catch this special moment because I never saw a woman here walking down the streets like this," Hayat Ensafi, who took the photo and posted it on his Facebook, told BBC Trending.

Ensafi said he was "shocked" and tried to talk to the woman but in vain.

"She walked very fast and didn't talk to me at all," he said, adding, "The whole city of Kabul is shocked."

The woman's action has invoked mixed reactions.

"It's her body not yours. Salute her courage. We want to see more women come out like that," a Facebook user Siddiq was quoted as saying by the BBC.

"We are living in a Muslim country and we can't bear such people like she is," another user named Ahmad wrote.

Women's rights in Afghanistan have seen an intermittent pattern with some years of reign providing them equal rights while other imposing severe restrictions.

Several of their rights rolled back following the Soviet occupation in the 1970s. Further, post the Taliban rule in the 1990s, Afghan women were banned from exercising even their basic rights, including showing skin in public.

Though the Taliban were ousted in 2001, not sighting a woman in full body veil (burqa) is still uncommon.

"It's risky for women to walk bare-legged in Kabul," BBC's Syed Anwar said. "At the same time, some people have argued that [dressing like this] can pave the way for Taliban propaganda."