Archaeologists warn Taliban destroying Pakistan's ancient heritage





TAXILA, Pakistan (AFP) – Archaeologists warn that the Taliban are destroying Pakistan's ancient Gandhara heritage and rich Buddhist legacy as pilgrimage and foreign research dries up in the country's northwest.

"Militants are the enemies of culture," said Abdul Nasir Khan, curator of Taxila Museum, one of the premier archaeological collections in Pakistan.

"It is very clear that if the situation carries on like this, it will destroy our culture and will destroy our cultural heritage," he told AFP.

Taxila, a small town around 20 kilometres (13 miles) south of Islamabad, is one of Pakistan's foremost archaeological attractions given its history as a centre of Buddhist learning from the 5th century BC to the 2nd century.

Violence is on the rise in Pakistan as Taliban bombers and gunmen strike with increasing frequency and intensity in the cities of North West Frontier Province and around the capital Islamabad.

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