US donates $5m for Kabul museum upgrade
KABUL(PAN): The US will donate $5 million (225.7 million afghanis) for a new museum building in Kabul that will eventually house the Hidden Treasures of Afghanistan exhibition, currently travelling the world.
The exhibit, which includes examples of carved ivories from Bagram, gold jewellery worn by ancient nomads, and Hellenistic sculptures found in northern Afghanistan, among other treasures, is currently on display in London at the British Museum.
The US ambassador, Karl Eikenberry announced the pledge at a ceremony at the Kabul Museum on Tuesday. He was joined by the Minister of Culture and Information, Makhdoom Raheen. The ministry also pledged $2 million for the design, plan and construction of the new building, according to a statement from the US embassy.
They will also work on a plan to improve the conditions of the current museum, established in 1919, as well as better protect the cultural relics it holds.
The new building will be built on land donated by the Ministry of Defence and will have state-of-the -art security, conservation and administrative and exhibition space, the statement said.
“My vision is for a museum that will be an even greater source of pride for Afghans from all regions. Afghans need a museum so that our children can learn about our nation’s rich cultural history at the crossroads of East and West,” Raheen said.
While Afghanistan’s National Museum was once a respected repository for treasures from across the region, it suffered during three decades of war. During the civil war it came under repeated rocket fire and its relics were looted and sold for money to fuel the conflict. When the Taliban swept into power in 1996, many pieces of art were destroyed, as they were considered un-Islamic. The building was rebuilt in 2004.
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