MADRID (AP) — Pope Francis criticized the West’s recent involvement in Afghanistan as an outsider’s attempt to impose democracy.
But he did it by citing Russian President Vladimir Putin while thinking he was quoting German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The pope was asked during a radio interview that aired Wednesday about the new political map taking shape in Afghanistan after the United States and its allies withdrew from the Taliban-controlled country after 20 years of war.
Francis said he would answer using a quote that he attributed to Merkel.
“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 reportedly said.
The words were spoken last month by Putin in the presence of Merkel during her visit to Moscow.
Francis called for Christians across the world to engage in “prayer, penance and fasting" for Afghanistan.