Looted treasures return to Afghanistan





In a small room inside Kabul museum, staff are slowly unwrapping hundreds of stolen pieces of Afghanistan's past.

Worth a fortune on the black market, the smugglers' hoard was spotted and seized by customs officers at Heathrow airport in London.

More than 1,500 artefacts were recovered in an 11-day operation. Many are priceless objects of Islamic art looted in illegal excavations.

There are prehistoric tools - up to 6,000 years old - and ancient coins, as well as more recent Islamic tiles, inscribed basins and bronze candlesticks.



During Afghanistan's civil war, Kabul museum was on the front line. Used as a base by the Mujahedin, the building was badly damaged. But most devastating of all - 70% of its rich collection was systematically looted and smuggled abroad.

Much of what survived was then smashed to bits by the Taliban.


comments powered by Disqus
History News Network