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Foreign smugglers digging up relics in Logar

Foreign smugglers digging up relics in Logar

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Mar 19, 2016 - 16:32

PUL-I-ALAM (Pajhwok): Some foreign smugglers have started digging up relics at archaeological sites in the Kharwar district of central Logar province, residents claimed on Saturday.

A member of the local council in Kharwar, Mohammad Akbar Akhunzada, told Pajhwok Afghan News a number of foreigners had been busy over the past few months digging up historic artifacts in the Kafar Kot area of the district.

He said the Kafar Kot area had a history of 2,000 years and it was a city in ancient times. “There was a city which is now buried beneath the ground. Smugglers dig up dishes, statues, war tools and other artifacts and smuggle them abroad,” he said, accusing the Talibaninfo-icon of providing protection to the smugglers

The local council’s secretary, Mohammad Nasir, also said the relic-hunters carried out their operations in cooperation with the Taliban. He said they had complained to the Provincial Council (PC) and other provincial departments about the illegal digging, but no action had so far been taken to prevent it.

Logar PC deputy head Qasim Khoshiwal confirmed receiving complaints in connection with the digging. He told Pajhwok Afghan News: “We have prepared a delegation to visit the area, but the team can only visit when security forces ensure their safety.”

Kharwar district chief Samar Gul Rashid confirmed that foreign smugglers had started digging for artifacts in Kafar Kot area with the help of Taliban militants.

“The Kafar Kot area is with Taliban, our travel there is problematic. The digging is ongoing over the past seven months,” the official said, adding he had informed the governor’s house, the police headquarters and the intelligence office about the issue.

But the governor’s spokesman, Salim Saleh, said the digging in Kakar Kot area had been stopped. “The issue was discussed at administrative meetings and the governor ordered security forces to prevent the digging which has been stopped now.”

Security officials refused to comment about the issue. A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied the insurgents were cooperating with relic-hunters.

He said the fighters had no time for smugglers and they were busy fighting against government forces. He said it was a mere propaganda campaign of the Afghan government.

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