The quagmire that Afghanistan finds itself in appears to have no end. One year after the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the biggest challenge facing the Taliban government last year—that of lack of diplomatic recognition and frozen assets—still persists, and is more pressing than ever. If political actors thought that the US administration would change its mind after a year, they were wrong—on the anniversary of the Taliban takeover, the Biden administration announced that it will not release $3.5 billion in frozen Afghan funds, citing the discovery of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri in Kabul.

The US administration’s approach is not good news—however, seeing the conduct of the Taliban government, such a stance is not surprising. There is a lack of trust between the Afghan administration and the international community and for good reason. The Taliban have not followed up in the least on their promise of a better record on women’s rights than their previous stint. Indeed, despite the Taliban’s insistence that they will soften on the issue of women’s freedoms when the situation becomes more secure, it appears that life for women in Afghanistan just keeps getting worse and worse. Furthermore, from the security angle too, the Taliban government have been unreliable, as they have not proved a counter to the terrorist Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). The Taliban’s sheltering of al-Qa’ida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri was a spectacularly bad diplomatic debacle, which shows the short-sightedness of the Taliban government’s foreign policy.

All this is going on while Afghans face some of the worst humanitarian conditions in history. We have seen the rapid fall in purchasing power of Afghanistan’s residents, who can no longer afford to buy food, and are reduced to selling their body parts through dangerous procedures on the black market at a value of less than the monthly minimum wage in some Western countries. There is only one way to bring back the purchasing power, and that is to release the frozen funds and extreme sanctions imposed on Afghanistan. Unfortunately, seeing the stalemate that has persisted for a year due to two stubborn parties, this does not look likely to occur any time soon.