World Museum and Cultural Heritage Day; Increasing concerns about the destruction of historical monuments in Afghanistan

29 May 2024
4 Minutes

After the collapse of the republican system and the return to power of the Taliban group in the year 1400, concerns about the protection of Afghanistan’s national and ancient monuments have increased. The cultural department of the United Nations (UNESCO) addressed the Taliban in a statement and demanded the protection of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.

Buddhas of Bamyan – The Peace Window

This organization has also announced that it closely monitors the historical watersheds of this country and uses all its efforts to protect the valuable cultural heritage of Afghanistan.

The Taliban group, however, contrary to the concerns of international organizations, have announced their efforts to grow tourism and seriously preserve the historical and ancient monuments of the country. Taliban officials have also announced that the Ministry of Information and Culture of this group, along with the protection of historical monuments, is also trying to return smuggled artifacts abroad.

In this regard, the officials of Ibn Sina Private University said in a cultural meeting on the occasion of World Museum and Cultural Heritage Day that cultural heritage is a very important part of the history and culture of any society and serious efforts should be made to preserve it.

The professors and students of Ibn Sina Private University said that cultural heritage is a very important part of the history and culture of any society in a scientific meeting held in Kabul today, Wednesday (29 May) under the title of “Cultural Heritage and Culture of Tolerance”. And the government and citizens should pay serious attention in this field.

Dr. Yahya Waqar, president of Ibn Sina University, said in this scientific meeting that the role of cultural heritage in preserving the tangible and intangible works of a country and nation is very important. In many cases, especially in societies that attach less importance to their ancient and cultural heritage, the role of this heritage and its impact on people’s culture is ignored.

Mr. Waqar added that this day is an excuse to remember the important and vital place of cultural heritage in learning about the lives of our past ancestors and preserving ancient and historical works for future generations.

He stated that the cultural heritage should be kept alive by the government and the people because; These heritages are the strengthening of cultural identity and nations are known by their cultural heritage.

The president of Ibn Sina University said in this scientific meeting that cultural heritage is considered a very important part of the history and culture of any society and all the works left by the past are said to have cultural value and these works can include tangible works such as ancient buildings” or intangible works “such as customs and customs of a region”.

He asked the Taliban group to preserve the cultural heritage in the country and said that the government should create laws to revive the museum and cultural heritage in order to preserve the cultural works in the society.

Naqibullah Qane, the representative of the Ministry of Information and Culture of the Taliban group, said in this scientific meeting that historical monuments are the identity and history of Afghanistan and the people of the country, and this ministry has paid special attention to its protection and has prevented the smuggling of antiquities in cooperation with other institutions.

The World Museum and Cultural Heritage Day is being held in Afghanistan, while following the recent floods in the country, concerns about the destruction of some buildings and cultural works in the country have increased in recent days.

Among these, Jam Minar, which is the second tallest clay minaret in the world, is now experiencing a catastrophic situation due to floods in Ghor province, and some local sources say that if the Taliban group and relevant organizations continue to neglect the preservation of cultural heritage, it may be destroyed. This historical work exists.

In this regard, Ahmad Wali Kasseh, a civil activist of Ghor province, said in a press conference titled “Voices of flood victims of Ghor province” in Kabul on Wednesday (2nd of Gemini) that following the recent floods in this province, Jam minaret is one of the oldest. The ancient heritage of this province is facing the danger of collapse.

Mr. Satseh added that the flood caused by the heavy rains on Friday and Saturday last week caused the surrounding of this historic minaret to be completely submerged and now the flood is directly hitting the walls of this minaret.

He asked the international institutions, especially the UNESCO organization and the Taliban group, to protect the Jam minaret and prevent the increase of threats and the risk of its collapse.

Of course, other heritages and historical monuments of the country are also in a similar situation and have been subject to destruction and historical oblivion for many years due to the lack of measures.

However, the Ministry of Information and Culture of the Taliban group asked the UNESCO organization to return the historical monuments of Afghanistan that are recognized in other countries to the country. This group has assured the citizens and cultural heritage protection institutions that none of the country’s historical buildings are in danger of being destroyed and that it is doing its utmost to preserve the watersheds and historical places.

The words of protection of water bodies and historical places are raised by the Taliban group, while in 2001, the Taliban, on the orders of Mullah Mohammad Omar, the founder of this group, destroyed the statue of Salsal in Bamiyan, which was considered one of the important historical monuments of Afghanistan, by firing rockets and Explosive materials were completely destroyed. According to the Taliban, any statue is a symbol of disbelief and should be removed from the territory of Islam. They also destroyed the huge statues of Bamiyan for this reason.

Due to its geographical location, Afghanistan is one of the richest countries in the field of cultural and historical works. Civil wars and arbitrary excavations by civilians have caused a large number of historical monuments to be smuggled out of Afghanistan. In 1996, when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan for the first time, they were accused of looting and destroying many ancient, artistic and cultural works. Mullah Muhammad Umar considered every statue, photo and artwork to be against the Islamic law and ordered its destruction.

However, Afghanistan joined the World Heritage Convention (UNESCO) in 1979, and the Minaret of Jam in Ghor province and the Buddha statues in Bamyan were registered as world heritages of this organization, and the ancient cities of Balkh, Herat and also the sightseeing and tourist areas of “Bandamir” in Bamyan. and “Bagh Babar” in Kabul are also included in UNESCO’s tentative list.