By: The Kabul Times
KABUL: Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs handed over 33 smuggled historical artifacts to the National Museum of Afghanistan here during a ceremony on Thursday, Bakhtar Information Agency reported.
During the ceremony, the acting Minister of Information and Culture, Mohammad Tahir Zuhair noted that the 33 artifacts were seized from smugglers in the United States and returned to Kabul through the Afghan Embassy in Washington.
The Acting Minister of Information and Culture thanked the Afghan Embassy in Washington and the Foreign Ministry for their efforts to return the artifacts, calling them a great achievement for the Government and people of Afghanistan.
The acting minister, according to the agency, added that during 1370’s civil war, more than one hundred thousand historical artifacts of the National Museum were looted and now a large number of the country’s relics and ancient monuments are facing serious risks.
Minister Zuhair assured the efforts of the Ministry of Information and Culture for the protection of historical monuments and cultural heritage, and said that there are more than 5,000 historical monuments in Afghanistan, most of which need to be protected and restored.
The Acting Minister of Information and Culture called on all the people to protect and preserve the historical monuments and cultural heritage in cooperation with the Ministry of Information and Culture and the security forces, as well as prevent their smuggling and illegal excavations.
Later, Toryali Ghiasi, director of cultural relations at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said that Afghan embassies and consulates abroad have a responsibility to work to return smuggled historical artifacts to the country.
Mohammad Fahim Rahimi, director of the National Museum, then spoke about the artifacts, saying they included stone and clay vessels and sculptures, some of which may be from Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic periods.
He added that more studies are needed to determine the authenticity and antiquity of these works.
The director of the National Museum said that 10,500 artifacts have been returned to the country since 2002.
At the end of the ceremony, the Head of Cultural Relations of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the presence of the acting Minister of Information and Culture, handed over 33 relics to the Director of the National Museum.