The scenes on Sunday were hard to digest. As city after city fell to the Taliban in Afghanistan, experts drew a parallel with the US’ hasty withdrawal from Saigon in the 70’s. Questions have been asked about the complete inability of the Afghanistan forces to at least defend urban centres. The way the defence collapsed was very much akin to how President Ashraf Ghani himself fled before Kabul was overrun.

The reports coming in from the occupied areas are exceedingly troubling. All previous promises of guaranteeing rights and offering clemency look to be forgotten as there are reports of female employees being sent home and Taliban fighters going from door to door in Kabul, looking for those they consider the enemy.

What happens now to decades of progress in women’s education and employment is something that exiting US and allied forces have not spent too much time thinking about. For Pakistan this still remains an exigent concern. Stability in Afghanistan means security and prosperity for the rest of the region as well.

The imposition of the Taliban brand of Shariah law is a fatal blow for those that believe in egalitarianism and preserving important freedoms for women; which is everyone that was rooting for a peaceful settlement to take place, Pakistanis included.

The other primary concern is the fear of a spillover of violence. This has already started to take place. Worrying reports of TTP statements, a new spate of low-risk, potentially high-yield attacks and the support for the Taliban’s narrative in some isolated quarters in Pakistan takes us back two decades when the War on Terror was just about to begin.

At this point, it feels like nothing much has changed. Time will tell whether the Taliban will come good on their promises. But no matter what anyone says, this is the least desirable outcome for a Pakistan that shares a long and porous border with Afghanistan, and simply cannot be a repeat of the nineties. The word has changed. From all accounts, the Taliban haven’t. It remains to be seen now on how governance is carried out in Afghanistan in the days to come.