Iran Condemns Taliban for Assault on Afghan Resistance Enclave
(Bloomberg) -- Iran rebuked the Taliban for its capture of Afghanistan’s northern Panjshir valley, the last remaining opposition bastion, breaking with its largely muted stance since the fundamentalist group swept to power.
Iranian officials developed covert ties with the Taliban over recent years, united by a common enemy, the U.S., and now hope those links will enable the neighbors to rub along without tensions erupting along the 900 kilometer (560 mile) border. But Tehran had helped finance anti-Taliban resistance fighters prior to the American invasion of Afghanistan 20 years ago, many of them in Panjshir.
“News from Panjshir is indeed very worrying. The attack last night is strongly condemned,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, told reporters, referring to the Taliban’s announcement earlier on Monday that it had seized the province.
He criticized the Taliban for cutting off food, water and electricity supplies to the region, and urged the group to abide by both international law and its own promises to the Afghan people.
Since the U.S. started withdrawing from Afghanistan, oil-rich Shiite Iran has sought to increase its influence in the landlocked state and develop pragmatic ties with the Taliban, an extremist Sunni movement. Tehran aims to boost trade, secure the frontier and contain any threat from Islamic State jihadists.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.