Khost Museum: Rare artefacts under threat
KHOST CITY (Pajhwok): Rare artefacts and handicrafts are running the risk of being damaged due to the absence of a secure building for the museum of southeastern Khost province, officials say.
Having 400 historic relics and handicrafts, the museum is currently confined to a congested room in the Department of Information and culture. The items have been placed in old cupboards in a disorganised fashion.
More often than not, visitors touch these pieces of art and place one on top of the other in rickety racks, according to curators, who underlined the need for the preservation of these items.
Habib Mandozai, in charge of the museum, told Pajhwok Afghan News some of stone statues, vessels and other pieces have a history spanning thousands of years.
Some of these items date back to the Yama kingdom, says Mandozai. “We have a five-kilogram fang of a giant animal; we found this while digging up a site. This tooth is thousands years old,” the officials adds.
Mandozai says they need a building equipped with the requisite facilities to preserve the artefacts, whose security is currently far from ensured. “We want the Ministry of Information and Culture, as well as our international partners, to extend all possible assistance to us.”
Many of the precious pieces could be lost or smuggled with the passage of time if the authorities did not pay special heed to ensuring the museum’s security on a priority basis, the official warned.
Meanwhile, Information and Culture Director Mohammad Amin Shah Ulfat said they had launched efforts to construct a secure building for the museum. “We have already done what we were supposed to do, including the museum sketch.
“But the Ministry of Urban Development is yet to be paid funds for the project,” said the director, who recalled that the Indian government had promised in 2013 to construct a building for the Khost museum. He hoped the Indian embassy in Kabul would remind New Delhi of its commitment.
Dozens of fans, including students of archaeology, visit the museum every week to catch a glimpse of these objects. Sheikh Zayed University student Habibur Rahman, visiting the clingy room, said the museum must have a state-of-the-art building.
“I have come here to see the relics, which are in a rather sorry state. None of these items can be seen from all angles. I think the museum must have a spacious building, with all allied facilities,” he commented.
Last year, the Ministry of Information and Culture said construction work on new museums in six provinces would kick off soon.The museums would be built in Kabul, Bamyan, Balkh, Khost, Logar and Kapisa, said General Director of National Museum Omar Khan Masoodi. The Khost museum is to be built on 13 acres of land.
Many smuggled monuments have been brought back into the country in the past decades with support from the UNESCO and other international partners. Illegal excavations and smuggling of historical artifacts across the country have been a source of concern for culturists and archeologists.
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