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Britain returns hundreds of artefacts to Afghanistan

posted 5 Aug 2012, 08:47 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Aug 2012, 08:48 ]

Hundreds of archaeological artefacts looted from Afghanistan have been handed over to the country's national museum during a ceremony in the capital Kabul.

Hundreds of looted Afghan artefacts were returned by the British Museum on Sunday (August 5) to Afghanistan's national museum in Kabul.
The 843 pieces cover artefacts from the Bronze Age all the way to the Islamic period and include rare items such as a 1st Century AD ivory elephant, a Buddha stone statue, coins, pots, stamps and a 3000 year old axe.

The British Embassy in Kabul handed over the collection to the Ministry of Information and Culture at a ceremony which was held in the National Museum.

"We are here today to celebrate the return of over 800 heritage objects to the national museum of Afghanistan, covering almost all of the great periods of Afghan culture. The return was assisted by the British Museum and the British Ministry of Defence,'' said British Consul General Colin Crorkin at the ceremony.

"They remind us that the troubles of the Taliban age and the subsequent battle against the insurgency and for a peaceful Afghan, are relatively small events in a bigger picture. They bring a sense of perspective that culture only can bring,'' he added.

Some of the stolen artefacts were recovered by British border forces and police, while others were found in private collections and bought back by generous donors.

Having been at the crossroads of the world's major civilizations over the millennia - from the Kushan and Bactrian periods to Buddhist, Hindu and Islamic eras - Afghanistan remains home to one of the richest and most diverse treasures of ancient sites and artefacts, making the country a centre of world historical and cultural heritage.