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Editorial: Good news on cultural activities

The government has recently decided to be serious in maintaining and reconstructing some historical sites and monuments which is good news since the rich culture of Afghanistan had been almost ignored due to war pressures and other problems the government and people of Afghanistan are confronting. The ministry of information and culture announced this week that the Jam minaret in Ghor, a Sufi inhabitation in Balkh and the resting place of the world-famous astrologer Abu Raihan al-Birooni located in Ghazni province will be reconstructed or repaired. As a country with very old history, Afghanistan was once one of the richest nations in the region and even in the world. Each province and area was house of several valuable sites that indicated Afghans’ rich culture, attracting tourists from around the world.

The civil war from 1992 to 1996 that was followed by Taliban’s five years long rule was the darkest era for culture in Afghanistan. The national museum was looted and all the relics were smuggled to Pakistan and then to the countries in Europe and other place. Cultural activities were forgotten and cultural figures were isolated either inside or outside the country and abandoned activities. These new announcements although can be good news for the people especially those interested in cultural improvement, but is not enough and this are still the beginning of a long path to revive the cultural and historical values. The government needs to take diplomatic measures with the world to convince them return our looted relics smuggled to their countries during the Mujahideen’s war. It should prevent illegal and arbitrary excavations in Bamyan and some other provinces in the north where powerful local commanders try to take historical and cultural pieces out of the earth to smuggle to abroad. The Buddha statues exploded by Taliban in 2001 need urgent attention. The UNESCO’s effort in the repairing of the giant statues for many years seems they are not serious to complete the project despite a peaceful space dominant in Bamyan province. The government is responsible to ask them about their works there.

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