Pope quotes Putin on Afghan crisis, attributes it to Germany's Merkel

WION Web Team
Vatican CityUpdated: Sep 02, 2021, 03:41 PM IST
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File photo of Pope Francis Photograph:(Reuters)

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Pope assumed the quoted words were spoken by German Chancellor Angela Merkel whom he called 'one of the world's greatest political figures'

Vatican’s Pope Francis criticised the 'forever war' in Afghanistan and blamed west’s two-decade long involvement in it. He expressed his emotions by quoting words of Vladimir Putin, but incorrectly attributed them to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.

During a radio interview on Wednesday, the Pope was questioned about the recent crisis in Afghanistan since the Taliban took control of the South Asian country.

"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.

Pope assumed these words were spoken by German Chancellor Angela Merkel whom he called "one of the world's greatest political figures". However, the words were actually said by Russian President Vladimir Putin when Merkel was visiting Moscow last month.

Putin had said these words on August 20 while criticising the West over its involvement in Afghan crisis. The Russian leader believes that the Western countries have forcefully enforced their own version of democracy but have not been able to help the Afghans appropriately.

Merkel had then joined his narrative and agreed that the operation has failed to substantiate a proper and democratic future for Afghans, as the Taliban took control of the country.

"We did not want to force any system on Afghanistan," Merkel had said. "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."

Merkel’s spokesperson has said her stand on the Afghan crisis is well known and has been repeated during recent speech in German Parliament. However, there has been no official statement on the Pope slip-up.

Meanwhile, the radio station has claimed that they had assumed the content was vetted by the Pope himself and his team.

"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," Pope had added. "I say deceit or a lot of naivety."