The spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry has urged all Afghan sides to exercise restraint and avoid violence and fratricide amid heavy fighting between Taliban members and resistance militia fighters in Afghanistan’s Panjshir Valley, north of the capital Kabul.
Speaking to IRNA on Friday, Saeed Khatibzadeh invited all Afghan sides to remain committed to the principle of negotiations to find a solution to the ongoing dispute.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is in constant contact with all parties and has made its utmost effort to alleviate the suffering of the Afghan people,” he said.
“We believe that lasting peace and stability in Afghanistan can only be achieved through genuine intra-Afghans talks without the presence and interference of foreign countries.”
The Iranian spokesperson noted that Afghanistan is tired of years of occupation, war and violence and so all Afghans should avoid the use of violence and fratricide again.
He slammed any foreign intervention in Afghanistan and said the Afghan people deserve a popular and inclusive government that reflects the country's demographic and ethnic structure.
Like the past 40 years, the Islamic Republic would stand by the people of Afghanistan in their efforts to achieve victory, Khatibzadeh pointed out.
Ahmad Masoud, the son of the late anti-Soviet Mujahideen commander Ahmad Shah Masoud, has established himself in Panjshir Valley, leading a several-thousand-strong force comprised of militias and remnants of the Afghan army and special forces units who are opposed to the Taliban.
Panjshir has been the only region to hold out against the Taliban following their takeover of Afghanistan.
Masoud has called for a negotiated settlement with the Taliban but has said his forces will resist if the narrow and mountainous valley is attacked.
The Taliban are poised to run Afghanistan again 20 years after they were removed from power by American invading forces. The Taliban militants intensified their offensives and rapidly overran major cities in recent weeks as the United States started what was seen as a hasty withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan. The Taliban took control of Afghanistan on August 15, prompting the evacuation of thousands of Afghan and foreign civilians via the Kabul airport, while foreign troops also used the airfield to pull out.