A Jesuit priest who is currently stranded in Afghanistan following the takeover by the militant Taliban of the country this week said the situation is “changing” and “chaotic.”
“The way the situation is changing in the country, it is anyone’s imagination,” said Father Jerome Sequeira, head of the Jesuit mission in Afghanistan, in a letter to friends and colleagues.
The priest said the mission has already suspended its activities across the country and has ensured the safety of all its staff.
“[The Jesuit Refugee Service] has suspended all activities for an indefinite period of time, and all are hibernating in their homes or communities,” wrote Father Sequeira.
“All flights are canceled and it all depends on the agreement between [the United Nations] bodies and the Taliban,” he added.
He said the Jesuit service “is putting all efforts” to evacuate him and another Jesuit priest.
“Thank you for your continuous prayers for our safety,” said Father Sequeira, even as he added that “safety does not make sense here” anymore because of the situation.
The priest said the Taliban “are busy occupying all government systems and putting their own persons.”
“They are not harming the civilians at the moment, but it will come once they fully captured all the systems of the country,” said the Jesuit.
He said the militant group has a list of all organizations. “In some places they have started door-to-door inquiries about the personnel of organizations,” said the priest.
Father Sequeira said “thousands of people are trying to flee” and are fleeing to airports. “The Taliban were shooting in the air and trying to control the crowd,” he said.
The priest ended his letter, saying “Did we, international community, invest so much and establish so much in the last 20 years just to hand it over to the Taliban in a matter of days?”
On Sunday, Pope Francis asked for prayers for the people of Afghanistan.
“I ask all of you to pray with me to the God of peace so that the clamor of weapons might cease and solutions can be found at the table of dialogue,” he said.
“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.” - LiCAS.news