Do senior officials from the U.S., China and Russia really plan to keep talking to the Taliban as if its fighters are not murdering civilians — including female activists — across Afghanistan, attacking schoolgirls and telling women they cannot leave the house without a man to accompany them?

Plenty of governments seem happy to break bread with Taliban negotiators since the U.S. under Donald Trump’s administration made a deal with them and President Joe Biden decided to honor it. In December 2001, the U.S. under George W. Bush pledged funds to support the women and children of Afghanistan. His wife Laura said, "The fight against terrorism is also the fight for the rights and dignity of women.” Any such promises are now hollow, exposed as disposable symbolism.

Representatives of the hard-line Islamist group met with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi last month and have recently been in Moscow, Tehran and Doha. And while they continue to travel freely (removed, temporarily, from a United Nations blacklist while peace talks are under way) their fighters have made rapid advances across the country, leaving a frightening toll of death and mayhem as U.S. and NATO troops prepare for a full withdrawal by Aug. 31.