There's a scene in The Handmaid's Tale, the TV series based on Margaret Attwood's dystopian novel, where the main character, book editor June Osborne, arrives at her office one morning only to learn that the country's new leaders have banned women from the workplace. Her boss gathers all the female staff and tells them to pack up their belongings and go home.
On 15 August 2021, Maari, a former soldier in the Afghan Army, has an almost identical experience. At 07:30, she leaves for work in a government ministry, expecting a busy day of meetings and conferences. Stepping outside, she immediately notices that the streets are eerily quiet, but she continues on her way, getting out her phone to check her calendar for meetings.