VATICAN CITY, NOV. 11, 2001 ( John Paul II made an urgent appeal today for aid for the civilians of Afghanistan, as U.S.-led bombings against the Taliban regime continue and winter approaches.

The Holy Father made his appeal before he led pilgrims gathered in St. Peter´s Square in praying the midday Angelus. Italy today observed Thanksgiving Day.

"While we thank God for all that the fields produced this year, we must not forget those brothers and sisters who, in different parts of the world, are deprived of essential goods, such as food, water, home and health care," the Pope said.

"At this time of great international concern, I am thinking especially of the peoples of Afghanistan, who must urgently receive the necessary aid," John Paul II added.

However, the Afghan "world emergency ... does not allow us to forget that in other parts of the world there continue to be conditions of grave indigence and impelling need," the Holy Father continued.

"In face of these situations, it is not enough to limit oneself to extraordinary initiatives. The commitment to justice exacts a real change in lifestyle, especially in societies that are well-off, as well as more equitable management of resources, both in rich as well as poor countries," John Paul II explained.

"The present marked imbalance, in fact, fuels conflicts and irreversibly threatens the earth, air and water that God has entrusted to the custody of humanity," he concluded.