Director says National Museum needs larger building for major exhibits

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Officials of the National Museum in Kabul said that 50,000 artifacts are in their possession. More than 50 visitors come to the museum daily, most of whom are students.

The head of the museum said they are preparing to hold an international exhibition. He also said that a larger building would allow for more items to be on display in Kabul.

“The building for the museum housing the ancient relics is so small, if we had a bigger building we could exhibit more,” said Aynullden Sadaqt, head of the National Museum.

Several visitors said that they came to the museum to know more about history.

“First, I like to visit the museum and second I want to revisit past events because when we see objects it has more of an effect,” said Ezatullah, a visitor.

The head of the National Museum said that an international exhibit is being prepared.

“We have plans to create a good relationship with the world and will set up an exhibition with those countries that have an interest in showing the ancient relics from Afghanistan,” said Aynullden Sadaqt, head of the National Museum.

Previously, officials of the National Museum signed an agreement with China in which Beijing pledged to help preserve ancient relics and raise the capacity of Afghan experts.

Meanwhile, Coinciding with International Museum Day on Tuesday, the National Museum exhibited 1,200 pieces for one day in Kabul. These artifacts had been seized by security forces from various parts of the country.

Gold coins were included from various historical eras, including the Achaemenid period, Western Greece, and the Safaweyan, Ghaznavian, Seljukian, Abbasian, Byzantium, Sassanian, and Kushanian periods. The back and front sides of these coins are stamped with symbols of kings, crowns, goddesses and other images.

According to the head of the National Museum, in addition to the ancient relics that were smuggled during the past wars, archeological sites are still being looted in insecure areas of the country.

“People are looking for antiquities as a treasure and a good source of income; they are trying to find them and make money,” said Fahim Rahimi, director of Afghanistan’s National Museum.

The exhibition included 1192 silver coins believed to be from the Ghaznavian era, which were seized around Helmand province’s Qalai Bost castle and transferred to the National Museum.

On one side of the coins there are verses of the Holy Quran, while the other side there are symbols from the Hindu Shahi era.

Tahir Zuhair, acting minister of information and culture said: “Diggings, excavations, and efforts that have been carried-out in the last 20 years led to the discovery of 25,000 historical artifacts from different provinces of Afghanistan, and all of them have been registered.”

Among the relics displayed, there are some types of traditional weapons as well.

Pieces of a Buddha statue were also exhibited that had previously been seized by security forces before being smuggled into Bagram.

Archeologist Abdul Hafiz Latifi said: “During the years of war and social and political unrest in this ancient land, archeological sites have always been looted. These sites were invaded either by the groups involved in the fighting or by profit-seekers who took advantage of war situations.”

During recent decades of war, nearly 100,000 antiquities at the National Museum were stolen and only 20% have been recovered over the last 20 years.

 

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