VATICAN CITY (Reuters) -Pope Francis called on Sunday for dialogue to end the conflict in Afghanistan so that its people can live in peace, security and reciprocal respect.
Francis made the appeal in his noon address as Taliban insurgents entered the capital Kabul and the United States evacuated diplomats from its embassy by helicopter. [L1N2PL01V]
“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,” he said to pilgrims and tourists in St. Peter’s Square.
“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 said.
There are very few Christians in Afghanistan, nearly all of them foreigners in embassies or aid workers.
The Taliban entry into the capital caps a lightning advance by the Islamist militants, who were ousted 20 years ago by the United States after the Sept. 11 attacks.
(Reporting by Philip Pullella; Editing by Hugh Lawson)