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Is Taliban trust worthy with Afghanistan’s cultural preservation?

By Mujeeb R. Awrang

KABUL: Afghanistan is one of the countries, where the longest violence has not only inflicted human casualties but also put severe damages to the country’s cultural relics and historical places. Many of the country’s ancient places have been destroyed and its unique relics looted or either illegally trafficked by the powerful individuals. And even some of these ancient places have been intentionally destroyed in wake of different regimes emerged in Afghanistan. Taliban – who is going to set on direct talks with the Afghan government to find a political settlement for 18 years of war – has destroyed famous idol Buddhas in central Bamyan province during their regime in 2001. The ancient sandstone carvings, once the world’s tallest Buddhas, were annihilated in an act of destruction that shocked the world.

In an event held to celebrate the international day of cultural heritage in Kabul on Wednesday, a number of archeologists expressed concerns about the possible damages to the country’s cultural heritages as part the of Afghan government and Taliban peace deal.  

Head of the Afghanistan National Museum, Mohammad Fahim Rahimi said, “Will peace with the Taliban risk the Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, this is something that we are concerned about.”

Noor Agha Noori, head of archeology department said that despite high security risks, the archeologists are continuing their work to protect the country’s antique relics. “Development and agriculture projects, illegal trafficking and insecurity have been posing great risk to cultural relics in some parts of the country” he said.  

Deputy Minister of Cultural and Information Ministry, Mohammad Rasul Bawari called on the citizens to take an important role regarding the protection of cultural heritages. “Cultural relics are reflecting history of a country and its people.”

The ministry of culture and information submitted 265 types of ancient relics which had been discovered by the archeologists all over the country.

The Taliban fighters at the time of their regime had first fired at the Buddhas with tanks and artillery shells. After the Taliban failed to destroy the Buddhas, they militants planted explosives trying to destroy them completely.

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