Pope Francis on Sunday encouraged countries to take in Afghan refugees who are trying to escape the oppressive Taliban regime, saying they should be able to “live with dignity.”
“In these moments of upheaval, in which Afghans are seeking refuge, I pray for the most vulnerable among them,” Francis, 84, said during his weekly blessing at St. Peter’s Square.
“I pray that many countries welcome them and protect those who are seeking a new life.”
Though he didn’t mention the Taliban by name, the pontifex appeared to refer to the extremist group’s past restrictions on schooling for women, saying he believes it’s critical that young Afghans receive an education.
“I also pray for the internally displaced so that they have help and necessary protection. May young Afghans receive an education, which is an essential good for human development,” Francis said.
He added that he hoped that all Afghans, whether in their homeland, in transit, or in countries taking them in, may be able to “live with dignity, in peace, in brotherhood with their neighbors.”
Thousands of Afghans have been evacuated by the US and are now waiting in so-called transit hubs in countries such as Qatar, Germany and Italy, while others are trying to flee via land crossings with neighboring countries such as Pakistan.
With Post wires