With the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan worsening since the Taliban take over, millions of Afghans have fled the country. On Sunday, Pope Francis called for nations across the world to welcome and protect vulnerable Afghans who have fled and continue to flee their country.

During the Sunday Angelus address, the 84-year old pope said that he is praying for all the Afghans who have been internally displaced within Afghanistan and "that they may have assistance and the necessary protection."

"In these troubled times that see Afghans seeking refuge. I pray for the most vulnerable among them. I pray that many countries will welcome and protect those seeking a new life," he said, according to Vatican News.

Hope for Dignity and Peace

Pope Francis
Pope Francis (Representational Picture)Reuters

In the weekly address, the 266th pope prayed that youngsters from the nation receive facilities necessary for development, and have the opportunity to lead a respectable life. "May young Afghans receive education, an essential good for human development, and may all Afghans, whether at home, in transit, or in host countries, live with dignity, in peace and fraternity with their neighbours," the Bishop of Rome said.

This is not the first time that Pope Francis has expressed his sympathies and concern over the crisis in Afghanistan. He did so on 15 August 2021, shortly after Taliban took control of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul. During that occasion, he requested every to pray unitedly so that "the God of peace so that the clamour of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue."

A Humanitarian Crisis

Taliban members are seen on a road in Kabul, capital of Afghanistan, Aug. 28, 2021. (Photo by Saifurahman Safi/Xinhua/IANS)IANS

The 'smooth' transition that the Taliban promised following its takeover has been far from reality. Beginning with suicide bombings (with IS affiliates being held responsible) to ongoing fighting in Panjshir, there has been no quiet in the nation since the Taliban captured Kabul.

On Saturday, the ongoing protest in Kabul by female activists seeking rights—to work and be a part of the government—under Taliban rule took a violent turn when they were targeted with tear gas and pepper spray. The TOLO News reported that the activists were attacked when they were trying to walk to the presidential palace from a bridge. However, the Taliban maintained that they 'responded' as the protest got out of control.

Meanwhile, in the Panjshir Valley—the last region resisting Taliban control—fighting between opposition and Taliban forces continues. Around 200,000 people reside in the anti-Taliban stronghold. On 13 September 2021, the United Nations (UN) is set to convene in Geneva for an international aid conference.