90pc of Afghan monuments under threat
Laura Tedesco, the cultural heritage program manager at the US embassy in Kabul, said from the cultural heritage aspect, Afghanistan was a rich country. But proper steps have not been taken for the restoration and preservation of the sites.
In an exclusive interview with Pajhwok Afghan News, she said the historical sites and monuments had been affected by decades of war, temperature, negligence, intentional damage and heist.
She believed the Afghan government had succeeded 10-20 percent in addressing the issue. Laura pointed out illegal excavation and theft of historical monuments at the Ainak copper site in Logar province as an example of the situation.
Last month, Herat provincial authorities announced due to the absence of proper attention, the city’s main congregational mosque, more than 1,400 years old, was faced with the threat of destruction.
But Laura said, as a sign of respect for the cultural heritage of Afghanistan, the US had been leading efforts at restoration and preservation of the cultural treasure, even more than the government.
The US launched the initiative eight years back with a donation of over $15 million, in coordination with the Information and Culture Ministry, to preserve the cultural heritage of Herat, Helmand, Ghazni, Kabul and Balkh provinces.
Building capacity of Kabul University students in renovation and of the cultural sites was among America’s priorities, the official added. Ten employees of the relevant offices are sent to the US annually to learn the techniques of protecting the historical monuments.
The US remained committed to assisting Afghanistan, but it was not enough and the Afghan government and people should also pay serious attention to the protection of their cultural heritage, she observed.
The cultural heritage program manager opined their rich cultural heritage could also play an important role in improving Afghans’ living standards and bringing unity to their ranks.
Three months back, the information minister acknowledged that 1,200 historical monuments were on the verge of annihilation.
Syed Makhdoom Rahin made the remarks on the occasion of declaring Ghazni City as the capital of Islamic civilisation. These monuments are facing devastation due to natural disasters, war and insecurity.
Download “Pajhwok” mobile App, on your smartphone to read and access latest news, features, interviews, videos and photos about Afghanistan.