Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Afghan Buddhist loot returned to Kabul

Many of the precious [pre-Islamic Buddhist] objects were looted during Afghanistan's civil war.

Hundreds of archaeological artifacts looted from Afghanistan have been handed over to the country's national museum during a ceremony in the Afghan capital, Kabul. Many of the 843 pieces were stolen during Afghanistan's civil war in the 1990s and ended up on the black market.
Some of the items, which include stone statues of Buddha [who was born near the ancient Indian frontier in an area known as Gandhara conjectured to be in the vicinity of modern-day Bamiyan, Afghanistan] and intricate ivory carvings, are up to 4,000 years old.
The British Museum in London has helped to complete their return. Some of the stolen artifacts were recovered by British border forces and police, while others were found in private collections and bought back by generous donors.
One stone Buddha, thought to be around 1,800 years old, was stolen from the museum in Kabul and recovered in Japan. The British Ministry of Defence (MoD) flew the pieces back to Afghanistan in large crates, landing at their military base in Camp Bastion.  

"As the figure of [the] Buddha looks down at us, finally at rest after its 20-year ordeal, it is hard not to think of its future"
- ( BBC News, Kabul)

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