Giancarlo La Vella and Fausta Speranza – Vatican City
Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan and the center of institutional power, is facing the inexorable advance of the Taliban forces that could at any moment be back in power after having already governed the country from 1996 to 2001. Since the Soviet invasion in 1979, Afghanistan has suffered from violence and war. Now the country is once again experiencing the suffering caused by armed conflict, forced exile and hunger. The situation is especially difficult for civilians where Barnabite Fr. Giovanni Scalese, head of Missio sui iuris, serves by offering a Catholic presence in the Asian country. He urges everyone to draw close spiritually to the people and pray that Lord may save Afghanistan from more suffering and bring them lasting peace.
UN fears humanitarian catastrophe
The United Nations secretary general, Antonio Guterres, has asked for a stop to the offensive in Afghanistan, which is taking a heavy humanitarian toll on the civilian population. 250,000 people – 80% women and children – have already been forced to leave their homes. He has appealed for a start to peace talks. The secretary general also expressed his shock over reports of abuse of women. In order to save Afghans fleeing the violence, many are calling for the establishment of humanitarian corridors. The humanitarian and health situation is worsening by the hour, said Guterres, stressing that “conflicts in urban areas result in continuous carnage, with civilians are paying the highest price” of the violence.