“Nobody can now guarantee the safety of either the thousands of objects at the Museum of Kabul or the treasure of Bactria brought to light by Greek archaeologist Victor Sarigiannidis,” former culture minister for Afghanistan Sultan Omar said on Monday, after meeting with Greek Culture Minister Lina Mendoni on Monday.
According to a ministry statement, the archaeologist who has known Mendoni for a long time and collaborated with her, expressed his grief and deep concern over the situation in Afghanistan, as the Taliban that just took over the country have a past of destroying archaeological sites and monuments.
Sultan Omar also expressed his appreciation to Mendoni for Greece’s and the ministry’s contribution in reconstructing the Archaeological Museum of Kabul. Greece contributed 750,000 euros to restore the building, while archaeologists associated with the ministry had traveled to Kabul in 2002 and contributed to the conservation and exhibition of its valuable artifacts.
The thousands of findings from Bactria, an ancient region in Central Asia that partly lies in present-day Afghanistan, have traveled to several countries and been shown at some of the largest museums in the world. The fact they are registered means it will be very difficult to sell illegally, but there are fears are they will be destroyed nevertheless.
Mendoni told her former colleague that the ministry is taking steps with UNESCO and the European Union about Afghanistan’s cultural heritage.