Afghanistan's cultural heritage under 'extreme threat,' UNESCO warns

28 December 2001

A senior official of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) has warned that the cultural heritage of Afghanistan is "under extreme threat."

UNESCO representative Martin Hadlow, wh is presently examining the devastation of Afghan culture during Taliban rule, called the current state of affairs "totally unacceptable."

Kabul Museum, which has a sign over it reading, "a nation stays alive when it's culture stays alive," suffered severe damage not only to its exhibits but also to its infrastructure. Touring the Museum, Mr. Hadlow was taken aback by the enormity of the loss to the Afghan people of their tangible cultural heritage.

"I walked through desolation," he said. "I was amazed by the appalling loss of cultural history in a land once being a Silk Road crossing point."

The UNESCO representative noted that the damage in Afghanistan affected all countries and people. "What has happened is a loss of cultural heritage for the world, a heritage which belongs to all humanity," he said.

In meetings with Mr. Hadlow, Afghanistan's new Minister of Culture and Information, Raheen Makhdoom, underlined the importance of support from the international community, calling for worldwide assistance to Kabul Museum and Afghan public libraries.

 

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