Pope calls for peace in Afghanistan
Pope Francis on Sunday called for a peaceful end to the conflict in Afghanistan as a government takeover by the Taliban appears to be imminent.
“I join in the unanimous worry about the situation in Afghanistan. I ask you to pray along with me to the God of peace so that the din of weapons ends and that solutions can be found around a table of dialogue,” Francis said in his address, Reuters reports.
“Only this way can the martyred population of that country – men, women, elderly and children – return to their homes and live in peace and security in full reciprocal respect,” he added.
Reuters notes that Afghanistan has a very small Christian population, with most being foreigners or aid workers.
The Taliban entered Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul on Sunday, with negotiators from the military group reportedly going to the presidential palace to discuss a peaceful transfer of power. At least one Afghan government official appears to have acknowledged the imminent transition of power.
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani is reportedly still in the country, having apparently decided against fleeing.
The Taliban’s advance on Kabul comes just months after President Biden announced the U.S. would be withdrawing troops from Afghanistan after more than 20 years in the nation. On Saturday, Biden remained firm in his decision, arguing that staying in the country for a few more years would not have made a difference.
On Sunday, it was reported that the U.S. was moving to evacuate the remainder of its embassy staffers in Kabul, with the facility expected to be closed down as early as Tuesday.