KABUL: As the war is intensifying across the country with Taliban fighters taking control of scores of districts, government officials express concerns over looting and damaging of historical relics and monuments.
Mohammad Taher Zohair, acting information and culture minister, called on people to protect historical relics in their own areas.
“As the districts are taken by war parties, we are concerned over the safety of historical relics. I would like to call on all noble people of Afghanistan especially in insecure areas to cooperate with us in protecting of historical relics and monuments that are our spiritual wealth,” Zohair said Wednesday in a news conference in Kabul.
He said that mafia and other smuggler groups “are ambushing” to use the current situation for smuggling historical works.
Zohair recalled looting and smuggling of historical works in the past war years, saying that “mafia gets more active in destructing of monuments and smuggling of other historical works during the war”.
Battles are going on severely between government forces and Taliban assailants in the provinces of Kandahar, Helmand, Uruzgan, Wardak, Ghazni, Faryab, Balkh, Baghlan, Samangan, Takhar, Kunduz, Logar, Paktia and other areas. Taliban claim they had captured some districts in these provinces.
Some government officials confirm losing of some districts, saying that the security forces had “strategic retreat” to prevent civilian casualties.
According to a report lately issued by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA), Taliban have taken control of more than 50 districts in the past two months.
Afghanistan has 378 districts within 34 provinces.