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Afghanistan's smuggled artifacts returned to national museum from US

Thirty-three artifacts smuggled from Afghanistan to the United States during two decades of war are delivered to the Afghan National Museum.

These artifacts belonging to the 2nd and 11th centuries (AD) were obtained from an art dealer by anti-trafficking police in the US in 2012 and 2014, said Mohammad Fahim Rahimi, director of the National Museum of Afghanistan. 

"About 10,500 antiquities have been returned to the country from different countries during the last 20 years," Rahimi added, "many other antiquities have been traced in different countries and will be returned to the country in the near future." 

Forty years of war, from the 1980s Soviet occupation to internal fighting and the war against the Taliban, have destroyed much of Afghanistan's art, artifacts and architecture.

Warlords stole other pieces and sold them abroad.

"I call on all the people of Afghanistan to stop the smugglers in a national mobilization and help our security organizations prevent illegal (mining) excavations," said Afghanistan' acting minister of information and culture, Mohammad Tahir Zuhair. 

The Taliban in 2001 destroyed artifacts dating from the third century when many Afghans practised Buddhism, including two towering Buddha statues in Bamyan province and scores of smaller ones excavated from monasteries and preserved at the national museum in Kabul.

(Source: Reuters) 

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