Home National museum Visitors return to Afghan national museum The Taliban after sacking

Visitors return to Afghan national museum The Taliban after sacking


KABUL: The National Museum of Afghanistan once again welcomes visitors and exhibits pre-Islamic artifacts with the blessing of the Taliban, in stark contrast to the rampaging and shutdown of the facility by extremists during their last stint in power.
On AFP’s recent visit, a small number of citizens toured Kabul’s vast exhibition halls, marveling at treasures ranging from painted Stone Age pottery to ancient coins and religious objects.
“It is innate in humans that they value their history,” said Rahmatullah, 65, after carefully examining a collection of 2,000-year-old swords.
“I wanted to know more about the history of my country. It has a special place in my heart.”
The museum reopened in late November with permission from the Taliban’s new Ministry of Information and Culture, about three months after the Islamists regained power and ended their two-decade insurgency.
Some of the items on display are fundamentally at odds with radical Taliban ideology, including pottery collections featuring images of animals and humans.
During their first reign from 1996 to 2001, Taliban fighters destroyed objects, including statues in the museum, while tens of thousands of objects were looted and never recovered.
During this period, Islamists also detonated giant 1,500-year-old Buddha statues in the central Bamiyan Valley.
But Taliban fighters are now protecting the museum and its treasures from potential attacks by ISIS insurgents.
According to Chief Curator Ainuddin Sadaqat, there has been no attempt to restrict what is on display.
Only “15 to 20% of the objects on display are of Islamic heritage,” the 35-year-old man told AFP.
“We also have visitors from the Taliban,” who sometimes come to visit the museum in large numbers, Sadaqat said.
The reopening comes as diehard Islamists attempt to present a more moderate image while seeking to unblock billions of dollars in international aid suspended since the fall of the Western-backed government and the lifting of sanctions.
The museum also has a collection of 18th and 19th century jewelry.
“I came here to see the jewelry, what it once looked like; the necklaces, the earrings,” said Zohal, 24, who only gave her first name.
“I wanted to see the difference between jewelry from the past and what we have now,” said the Afghan woman, who works for the Norwegian Refugee Council.
The number of visitors is far lower than the hundreds of daily visitors under the previous regime – a time when the number was swelled by cars full of children.
“At the moment, the Taliban’s cultural policy towards artefacts seems very positive and realistic,” said Philippe Marquis, former head of the French archaeological delegation in Afghanistan.
Future policy “will likely depend on the reaction of the international community” to the Taliban’s calls to reinstate suspended aid, he added, with the risk that the suspension of this aid will lead to a decline in culture and culture. other policy areas.
Another key cultural institution, the Afghan National Institute of Music, remains closed. Its director Ahmad Naser Sarmast fled the country with hundreds of employees, students and their families.