Pope Mistakes Putin's Speech For That of Merkel as He Slams Western Involvement in Afghanistan

© REUTERS / COPE/Carlos HerreraPope Francis speaks during an interview with Spanish radio station COPE at the Vatican City in this picture released September 1, 2021. Carlos Herrera en COPE/Handout via REUTERS
Pope Francis speaks during an interview with Spanish radio station COPE at the Vatican City in this picture released September 1, 2021. Carlos Herrera en COPE/Handout via REUTERS  - Sputnik International, 1920, 01.09.2021
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US and NATO troops completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan on 30 August, but even ahead of that, the power in the country quickly fell into the hands of the Taliban*. Unimpeded by Western forces, the insurgent group seized regions from the government practically without a fight and will now establish its own government.
Pope Francis has slammed the way Western countries carried out the intervention in Afghanistan by citing what he believed to be the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while in fact, they belonged to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
When the head of the Holy See responded to a question about Afghanistan in an interview recorded last week, but released only today, he claimed to be citing Merkel as saying: "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 German chancellor never said those words, but rather she noted that Western countries had failed in their project of helping the Afghan people to produce a "collective position for [their] own future". She also claimed that the West never wanted to "force any system on Afghanistan", even though following the US-led invasion, the UN attempted to install a democratic government, which lasted for a little less than 20 years.
At the same time, the Pope practically repeated word-for-word the position of Vladimir Putin, which he expressed following his meeting with Merkel on 20 August. The Russian president condemned the attempt of foreign powers to "build democracy" in other countries "without taking into account historic, ethnic and religious issues and fully ignoring other people’s tradition".
Pope Francis delivers the Sunday Angelus prayer from the window of his study overlooking St. Peter' Square at the Vatican on July 18, 2021.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 29.08.2021
Pope Francis Sends Condolences to Victims of Terrorist Attack in Kabul
This is not the first time Pope Francis has expressed his stance on the situation in Afghanistan, previously calling on the sides of the internal conflict to end hostilities as the Taliban* was carrying out its offensive against Kabul's forces. Since then, the insurgent group has managed to capture the absolute majority of the country's territory, including the capital, practically without resistance from the local population and government troops. The Taliban announced the coming establishment of an emirate in Afghanistan regulated by Sharia law. Two days ago, NATO forces also finished their evacuation procedures despite several hundred Western nationals still remaining in the country, as well as many more Afghans who helped foreign forces in their mission and who now fear retribution.
*The Taliban is a terrorist organisation outlawed in Russia and many other countries
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