Pope, citing Putin, criticizes two-decade war in Afghanistan

Pope, citing Putin, criticizes two-decade war in Afghanistan
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Pope FrancisPope FrancisPope promises justice for abuse victims day after Ratzinger report Investigators say Pope Benedict knew about abused children while Munich archbishop Pope says prison inmates should not be deprived of hope MORE criticized the U.S.’s two-decade war in Afghanistan during a recent interview, citing a quote from Russian President Vladimir PutinVladimir Vladimirovich PutinUkrainian president praises Biden for reaffirming US support The pitfalls of Russia's plan to rewrite history in Ukraine Kazakhstan's crackdown is a frightening formula for authoritarians MORE, which he thought was said by German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Francis, during a radio interview that was taped last week but aired on Wednesday, was discussing the new political map forming in Afghanistan as the U.S. was working to withdraw all its troops from the country, an effort that was completed on Monday.

Francis said he would respond to the question by referring to a quote from Merkel, who he said was “one of the world’s greatest political figures,” according to The Associated Press.


“It is necessary to put an end to the irresponsible policy of intervening from outside and building democracy in other countries, ignoring the traditions of the peoples,” the pope said, using his own translation into Spanish, according to the AP.

That quote, however, was actually said previously by Putin.

Putin in August, while delivering remarks alongside Merkel after the two leaders met, said virtually the same remark invoked by Francis.

“It’s necessary to stop the irresponsible police of enforcing its own values on others and attempts to build democracy in other countries based on outside models without taking into account historic, ethnic and religious issues and fully ignoring other people’s traditions,” Putin said, according to the AP.

Merkel, during the joint press conference between the two leaders at the time, contended that in one area of involvement in Afghanistan, their goal was not achieved.

“On another project, namely for there to be a collective position of the Afghan population for its own future, we did not achieve our goals — I want to say that very openly,” Merkel said, according to the AP.

“I must say that, in our development cooperation efforts, we did not want to force any system on Afghanistan,” she added. “But we saw that millions of girls were glad to go to school and that women could participate. There are many in Afghanistan who are very, very unhappy about developments now.”

During the interview that aired Wednesday, Francis said “not all eventualities were taken into account” in the exit of Western allies from Afghanistan, adding that there was “a lot of deception” on the part of the Afghan authorities.

“I don’t know whether there will be a review or not [about what happened during the withdrawal], but certainly there was a lot of deception perhaps on the part of the new [Afghan] authorities,” the pope said, according to the AP. “I say deceit or a lot of naivety.”

The final U.S. military plane left Afghanistan on Monday, leaving no American troops on the ground and effectively ending the war after 20 years of military involvement.

Francis last month, during a Sunday address, called for a peaceful end to the situation in Afghanistan as the Taliban’s military offensive was ramping up.