Hundreds of Afghan antiquities repatriated from Britain





Precious items are the plunder of looters who had hoped to sell them to private collectors.

Fifteen hundred pieces of this country's history are sitting in crates in the Afghanistan National Museum. Half of the relics date to the time before Islam arrived in Afghanistan in 642 AD. The rest cover the Muslim period up to and including the 20th century. But they did not come directly from archeological sites in Afghanistan.

They came instead from Heathrow Airport in London, where they were confiscated over a period of six years.

British authorities returned the objects to Kabul in a massive shipment that arrived on February 17.

Most of them were shuffled though foreign countries, especially Pakistan and the United Arab Emirates, before being sent to Great Britain, he said. They are the plunder of looters who had hoped to sell them to private collectors. Almost all have been lifted directly from the ground.

The Afghan pieces seized by the British were carefully photographed and catalogued in London before being put on the Red Cross flights that brought them to Kabul. They are now waiting for one of the experts who packed them to help remove them from their crates. In a few weeks, many of them will be on display in Afghanistan for the first time.



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