Iran condemns Taliban attack on Panjshir, terms seize by outfit 'unacceptable'

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Tehran [Iran], September 6 (ANI): Iran on Monday condemned the attack by the Taliban on Panjshir province of Afghanistan and said that the siege by the outfit is "unacceptable in terms of international law and humanitarian law".

"There is only political solution to Panjshir and the siege of Panjshir is by no means acceptable in terms of international law and humanitarian law," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a regular news briefing.

Taliban has claimed that they have captured the Afghan province of Panjshir, the last resistance stronghold in the country.

Thousands of Taliban fighters overran eight districts of Panjshir overnight, according to witnesses from the area who spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing for their safety, Tehran Times reported.

Khatibzadeh said reports from Panjshir are "worrying". He added the attack on the province is strongly condemned.

After the fall of Kabul on August 15, Panjshir province remained the only defiant holdout where resistance forces led by Ahamd Masoud, the son of late former Afghan guerrilla commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, were fighting the Taliban.

The geography has witnessed heavy conflict between the warring sides in the past four days and both parties are claiming to have inflicted heavy casualties.

Panjshir has been the stronghold of the National Resistance Front, led by Ahmad Massoud and former Vice President Amrullah Saleh, who declared himself caretaker president. On Sunday, Massoud said that he was ready to cease fighting and start negotiations if the Taliban abandoned the province.

Panjshir was the last Afghan province holding out against the armed group that swept to power last month. Taliban has been facing stiff resistance after pushing deep into the country's holdout in Panjshir Valley.

Panjshir resistance spokesperson Fahim Dashti was reported dead in a clash with the Taliban on Sunday.

He was also the nephew of Abdullah Abdullah, a senior official of the former government who is involved in negotiations with the Taliban on the future of Afghanistan.

Khatibzadeh said the "martyrdom" of Afghan leaders is a "source of regret".

"No side must allow that this course lead to fratricide," he said, adding that the Taliban should abide by international law.

He went on to say that "starving" the people of Panjshir and "cutting their water and electricity is a cause of concern and regret." (ANI)

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