There was only one place Army veteran Dominick Liello wanted to be on the night of Sept. 2 — at a candlelight prayer service at St. Helen’s Church to honor the 13 U.S. military service members killed a week earlier in a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden said the decision to end 20 years of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan on Aug. 31 came down to limiting further loss of American lives in a place where the country no longer had vital interests.
As the bloody, contentious U.S. evacuation of Afghanistan approached its Aug. 31 deadline, fears rose about the ultimate fate of Catholics and Christians under Taliban rule if they are unable, or unwilling, to flee.
As Aug. 30 ended in the U.S. and a new day began in a different time zone in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Aug. 31, 2021, the U.S. Central Command released a green-tinted photo of a soldier about to get on a cargo plane, a photographic coda to seal the historic moment that put an end to nearly two decades of U.S. military presence in Afghanistan.
In a new interview, Pope Francis appears to criticize the handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan by the United States that triggered scenes of chaos and violence at the Kabul airport, saying that while “I don’t want to judge” nevertheless “they didn’t take into account all the eventualities.”
With increased violence unfolding in Afghanistan, Pope Francis appealed to all Christians to fast and intensify their prayers.
Pope Francis held a private audience with Nadia Murad, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate and survivor of the Islamic State-led genocide in Iraq, Aug. 26 at the Vatican.
A candlelight service at St. Francis of Assisi Church Aug. 23 offered uplifting music, quiet prayer and heartfelt petitions for those struggling in the chaos of Haiti and Afghanistan. The event incorporated Scripture, silent reflection, musical response and prayer.
The International Monetary Fund on Aug. 23 withheld $455 million in emergency COVID-19 relief funding from Afghanistan after the Taliban’s takeover of the country forced the organization to withhold its recognition of the Afghan government.
Caritas Pakistan has alerted its diocesan units bordering neighboring Afghanistan to help refugees fleeing the Taliban’s takeover of the country, reported ucanews.com. Thousands of Afghans have entered Pakistan via the Chaman border crossing, one of the most active trade and travel routes between the countries, according to media reports.