Even if the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan decides that radical Islamic groups will not plunder or deliberately destroy Afghanistan, the country’s archaeological sites face a tough future.
Some news reports suggest that the Taliban are already looking for one of the country’s most famous cash. The so-called “Bactrian Treasure” is a collection of more than 20,000 relics, mostly made of gold, found in a 2,000-year-old tomb in a place called Tilia Tepe in 1978. This treasure was kept in the National Museum. Afghanistan was on display at the presidential residence, but there are reports that its current location is unknown.
Other archaeological sites that could be threatened by the Taliban include Mesuinak, a Buddhist city that flourished about 1,600 years ago. The city lies along the iconic Silk Road and was used for both trade and worship. Many ancient Buddhist monasteries and other ancient Buddhist relics are buried there.
When the Taliban ruled Afghanistan between 1996 and 2001, they destroyed many of these Buddhist relics, including two giant 6th-century statues known as “Buddha statues in Bamiyan.” According to news reports, militant groups used rockets, tank projectiles, and dynamite to destroy towering statues.
The future of Mes Aynak looks particularly bleak, as sources told Live Science that all the equipment used for excavation and maintenance in the field was gone. And the Taliban are visiting the place for unknown purposes.
Afghan archaeologist Khair Muhammad Khairzada, who led the archaeological excavation in Afghanistan, said: Mes Aynak.. “All the ruins of Afghanistan [at] “Risk,” said Khairzada. “There is no oversight, treatment, or care in every department in every state. [are] “Closed without the money or other facilities needed to take care of it” [of] Recently, Khairzada was forced to flee to France to escape the Taliban.
Khairzada said all the equipment used for excavation and maintenance at MesAynak was “lost.” China retains mining rights in its neighbors, fearing that if the site were turned into a mine, part of the site would be destroyed, even before the Taliban took over archaeologists. After the Taliban hijacked Kabul, they announced they would seek financial support from China, but it is unclear whether China intends to build a mine in the region.
Julio Bendez Salmiento, director of the French archaeological delegation to Afghanistan, said he learned that the Taliban had visited Metz Inak, but for unknown reasons. “It’s hard to say what the immediate purpose of this visit is,” said Bendez Salmiento. The Taliban occupied Kabul before the relics were shipped, although there were plans to hold an exhibition of relics from France’s Messinak and other Afghan ruins in 2022.
So far, there have been no reports of the Taliban deliberately destroying the relics, and the Taliban leadership has issued a statement stating that they will protect the ruins. However, it is unclear whether the Taliban will actually carry out their promises.
Gil Stein, a professor at the University of Chicago Oriental Institute, who heads the Afghanistan Heritage Mapping Partnership, has worked with his team to map and monitor thousands of Afghan sites using satellite imagery. Stein estimates that he has planned about 25,000 archaeological sites in Afghanistan so far. Looting is a long-standing problem in Afghanistan, but Stein said he has so far found no evidence that the Taliban support it.
The Taliban recently dominated parts of Kabul and northern Afghanistan, but for several years it dominated parts of southern Afghanistan. The southern region, which the Taliban has dominated for years, does not have the large-scale looting seen in the region dominated by the Islamic State groups of Syria and Iraq (ISIS or ISIL), Stein said. Told live science.
“Basically, the Taliban did not sponsor looting as a source of income. [ISIL] Stein said. However, the team found many cases in southern Afghanistan where opium-growing farmlands were built on the ruins. The Taliban said, “We are making something like that, so we didn’t have to sponsor the looting. The huge amount of money from the opium trade.”
The northern region of Afghanistan, which the Taliban has recently hijacked, has far more archaeological sites than the southern region. After examining recent satellite images of northern Afghanistan, Stein’s team identified “combat-related damage” but not new cases of large-scale looting.
He said it would be known over time whether the Taliban would refrain from looting or destroying the ruins. In one encouraging event, Tulliburn placed guards outside the National Museum in Afghanistan, Stein said, guards outside the Baghdad Museum, which was plundered during the turmoil during the 2003 US invasion of Iraq. Said that was not placed.
Even if Kabul’s Taliban leadership decides to protect archaeological sites, there is no guarantee that Taliban groups in other parts of Afghanistan will comply with those orders, Stein said.
In addition, many heritage professionals still in Afghanistan are afraid of their lives. “The heritage people know that they are very, very worried because no one knows what will happen. There is good reason to be very scared if the Taliban do what they have done in the past. .. [for both their lives and Afghanistan’s heritage].. “
According to Stein, it is dangerous for domestic heritage experts to keep in touch with people outside Afghanistan. He heard cases where the Taliban stopped people on the street and searched their cell phones to see if there were foreigners in their contacts. In August, the Taliban killed an Afghan folk singer, but so far there have been no recent reports of the Taliban killing archaeologists. According to Stein, some heritage experts wanted to leave Afghanistan, but were unable to leave before Americans withdrew from Kabul’s airport at the end of August.
Over the last two decades, several relics looted or stolen from Afghanistan have been found in the United States and repatriated to Afghanistan. As far as Stein knows, the relics repatriated are still in the National Museum of Afghanistan, he said.
Live Science has contacted the U.S. Immigration and Customs Department [ICE] Ask what their policy would be if stolen Afghan relics were found in the United States. They did not respond by the time of publication.
Originally published in Live Science.
The Taliban may be looking for the most famous treasure in Afghanistan
Source link The Taliban may be looking for the most famous treasure in Afghanistan