From 1996-2001, the Afghan Taliban government was censured for regularly carrying out punishments in public, including floggings and executions in Kabul. The present-day situation has deteriorated to this point again, with a new video of a public flogging circulating on social media on Wednesday. What this tells us is that despite the public face that the Taliban administration is putting forward, the situation is still incredibly draconian. What makes this worse is that this incident was confirmed by authorities and is not an older video resurfacing as “western propaganda”.

The return of the Taliban administration to its old hardline ideology is evidenced by the re-establishment of the Ministry for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, which targets behaviour deemed “un-Islamic”. The problem with this is that the definition is not a monolith.

While there are different factions of the Taliban in localities that differ in extremism, and moderate faces are put forward by the high levels of government, incidents like these are adding fire to issues of recognition that the regime is facing in the international sphere. With the Afghan crisis quickly slipping out of the news cycle, it is important to keep pushing for some guarantee of rights for the Afghan people in the face of this reported oppression.

Given all of this, the diplomatic community should consider the toll that further isolation is putting on the Afghan people. More embargos will only worsen economic, food and health insecurity. For example, there are reports of parents being forced to drug their children so they don’t go hungry. Women have already seen their rights obliterated in the regime and it is only getting worse. The time to ignore this issue is long gone so engagement and recognition are the only way forward.