Pope voices 'concern' over Afghanistan, calls for 'dialogue'

"I join in the unanimous concern for the situation in Afghanistan," the pontiff said during the weekly Angelus at the Vatican.

Pope Francis speaks during his sermon as he leads a Christmas Eve mass to mark the nativity of Jesus Christ on 24 December 2020, at St Peter's basilica in the Vatican. Picture: AFP

VATICAN CITY - Pope Francis expressed his "concern" Sunday over the conflict in Afghanistan and called for dialogue so that the "battered population" can live in peace.

"I join in the unanimous concern for the situation in Afghanistan," the pontiff said during the weekly Angelus at the Vatican.

"I ask all of you to pray with me to the God of peace so that the clamour of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue.

"Only thus can the battered population of that country – men, women, elderly and children – return to their own homes, and live in peace and security, in total mutual respect."

His comments come as the Taliban was on the brink of total victory in Afghanistan on Sunday, with its fighters ordered to wait on the outskirts of the capital and the government conceding it was preparing for a "transfer of power".

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