Hidden From Raging Wars By Curators In Kabul, Centuries-Old Artifacts Are Displayed For The First Time In The U.S.

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The destruction of a centuries-old Buddha carved into a cliff in Afghanistan was a baffling event to Americans. And for many of us, it was the first time we were aware of the group behind that deed: The Taliban. And their plans for the destruction of Afghan culture had only just begun. To explain a show of rare Afghan artifacts that's now under way in Washington, here is Morley Safer of 60 Minutes.

For more than a quarter-century Afghanistan has been in continuous war - the
Soviet invasion, followed by civil war, the Taliban, Osama bin Laden, the American-led
Invasion, and it goes on.

In 2001, the towering ancient Buddhas of Mamiyan were obscenely erased by the Taliban, who with knives and sledgehammers went on to obliterate 2,000 works of art from the National Museum in Kabul - stunning objects declared offensive under strict Islamic law.

Hundreds more were lost to looting and bombing. An ancient world lost … or so we thought.

In 1988, a small group of museum workers carefully culled the most precious objects, packed them, sealed the boxes, and hid them in a vault under the presidential palace ...

… And took a vow of silence.

In 2004, after the fall of the Taliban, they broke their silence (as well as the seals on the boxes).

Fred Hiebert, a National Geographic archaeologist, was there. ...

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