Anglican bishops express concerns over Afghan conflict

 The House of Bishops of the Church of England issued the following statement yesterday, on issues arising from the conflict in Afghanistan. The statement covers the status and treatment of prisoners, the rebuilding of Afghan society and the growing number of civilian casualties. Statement of concern by the House of Bishops on issues arising from the conflict in Afghanistan At a meeting of the House of Bishops in York (14-17 January) concerns were raised about a number of moral issues arising from the conflict in Afghanistan and its sequel. Since September 11, the Churches have sought to apply the following three moral principles to the consideration of the conflict. We believe these principles to be widely shared by the great faith traditions, in particular by Christianity, Islam and Judaism. These principles are:- (a) Justice demands that our responses and actions should be proportionate and measured. Specifically we oppose the rhetoric and policy of revenge. Every action must be tested against principles of justice. Ends do not justify means. (b) Those who are engaged in prosecuting this conflict have a duty to the future, especially the welfare and common good of peoples caught up in the conflict. (c) Those who proclaim that their cause is just must act justly. In the light of these principles we have the following particular concerns:- 1. We share a growing concern about the status and treatment of prisoners. They should be treated with humanity and dignity both in their detention and in the prosecution of any case to be made against them. These principles apply whatever their legal status may be. 2. We wish to affirm the Government's stated policy of commitment to assist in rebuilding civil society and humanitarian relief in Afghanistan. 3. We are concerned about the continued bombing in Afghanistan and the consequent growing number of civilian casualties.

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