When the last American soldier flew out of Afghanistan on Aug. 30, 2021, leaving the country to Taliban rule, the world braced for a human rights nightmare.

In that sense, the Taliban have met expectations. The country’s extremist rulers, who seized power from an American-backed government of 20 years, have carried out revenge killings, torture and abductions, according to international observers. They have also imposed the world’s most radical gender policies, denying education and employment to millions of Afghan women and girls — even shutting down beauty parlors.

On Aug. 14, a group of United Nations officials issued a report saying the Taliban had engaged in "a continuous, systematic and shocking rescinding of a multitude of human rights, including the rights to education, work, and freedoms of expression, assembly and association.”