After the last US troops left Afghanistan, we saw stark scenes of Taliban fighters entering Kabul airfield with American-made weapons and equipment.
"Our reason for staying has become increasingly unclear," said US President Joe Biden, in justifying the withdrawal of all remaining American troops before the symbolic date of September 11.
But for Afghans on the ground and in the diaspora around the world, the consequences are becoming brutally clear.
For those of us with friends and family in Afghanistan, it means sleepless nights. Endless scrolling through one devastating news story after another, and desperate pleas for help on social media.
Our community in Australia - already impacted by COVID-19 lockdowns - is exhausted and in agony thinking about what this means for everybody in our homeland, not least women and ethnic and religious minority groups like the Hazara.
'My whole life has been obliterated in just a few days'
With the fall of Kabul, and as the Taliban consolidates its hardline rule over Afghanistan, Afghan women's hard-won freedoms and human rights are already being dismantled.
Even as the Taliban has been saying publicly that women can attend school "according to Islam", there is widespread scepticism that the Taliban have changed their policies towards women and girls with regard to their access to education.
According to Human Rights Watch, "although the Taliban officially state that they no longer oppose girls' education, very few Taliban officials actually permit girls to attend school past puberty. Others do not permit girls' schools at all."
Already in those areas under Taliban control, women and girls have lost their freedom of movement. As one anonymous Afghan woman wrote in The Guardian: "Last week I was a news journalist. Today I can't write under my own name or say where I am from or where I am. My whole life has been obliterated in just a few days."
The most vulnerable and persecuted ethnic and religious minority in Afghanistan - the Hazaras, of whom I am one - are now at risk once again as potential victims of genocide.
Hazaras, who represent around one-fifth of Afghanistan's population, have been persecuted since the rule of Abdur Rahman Khan, emir of Afghanistan in the 19th century. Estimates are that by the early 20th century, about 60 per cent of the Hazara population had been killed. They were enslaved, sent into exile, and ethnically cleansed.
Following the removal of Taliban rule in 2001, however, Hazaras were finally conferred basic human rights. It granted them equal access to key civil institutions and places of employment. With the withdrawal of US troops and the reinstallation of the Taliban's "Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan", all Afghan ethnic minorities are at grave risk.
The Taliban and Islamic State Khorasan Province, also known by acronym ISIS-K, have conducted brutal attacks on civilians, most recently at Kabul's airport, which killed at least 170 people and 13 US service members.
This year ISIS-K have conducted attacks on a girl's school and a Shia mosque targeting Hazaras. Hazaras fear that once the withdrawal of foreign troops is over and the attention of international media goes away, the Taliban will perpetrate the same atrocities and massacres they conducted in the 1990s.
An urgent appeal: actions speak louder than words
The international community, especially the Australian government, has a moral obligation to protect the rights of people that are now most at risk. Myself and other young Hazaras have met with MPs from across the political spectrum in recent weeks, but we are still waiting for action.
I make an urgent appeal to the Australian government to offer protection to those most at risk. It can do this immediately and concretely by committing to an additional humanitarian intake of at least 20,000 - prioritising the most vulnerable and persecuted Afghans.
This would bring Australia into line with Western allies such as Canada and the UK. Australia has precedent in this regard, too, as seen in response to the Syrian conflict with an additional 12,000 humanitarian visas in 2015.
The Morrison government should grant permanent residency to Afghans on temporary protection and safe haven enterprise visas; lift the ban on family reunions for thousands of Afghan permanent visa holders in Australia with their families in Afghanistan; and lift the ban on the resettlement of refugees who registered with UNHCR Indonesia after July 1, 2014.
The urgency of my appeal can most fully be understood if anyone has watched the chilling footage of Afghans desperately clinging to a US Air Force plane as it taxied down the runway at Kabul.
Clinging to its wings and wheels were Afghan civilians attempting to escape the larger violence of the triumphant Taliban regime.
For the White House, withdrawal from Kabul means the "forever war" is over. Not so for the almost 40 million people left behind in Afghanistan.
For us in Australia, it means many sleepless nights to come.
- Hayat Akbari is chair of the Youth Working Group at the Asia Pacific Refugee Rights Network (APRRN). Twitter: @Hayat_Akbarii