The militant Islamic group that destroyed artifacts back in 2001 is being restored. The conservators working on the project claimed that the restoring process is like working on a 1,500-year-old jigsaw puzzle. The antiquities destroyed by the Taliban back in 2001 were from the third century when many Afghans practiced Buddhism. The national museum in Kabul has restored two towering Buddha statues in Bamyan province and scores of smaller ones excavated from the monasteries. The museum also began restoring remnants of the country's Buddhist history. Mohammad Fahim Rahimi, the director of the 100-year-old National Museum of Afghanistan reportedly claimed that the restoring process is very important because it is actually a restoration of the Afghan heritage, identity, and past.
“Restoring Afghanistan's Buddhist artifacts that were destroyed by the #Taliban 18 years ago is like working on a 1,500-year-old jigsaw puzzle, say conservators working on the latest restoration project.” Slowly #Afghanistan’s treasures are being restored. https://t.co/elY224BUKR— Mariam Amini (@mariamamini) October 14, 2019
The US-supported project aims to reassemble thousands of pieces into statues within the next three years. The forty years of war have destroyed much of Afghanistan's art, artifacts, and architecture. Sherazuddin Saifi, a conservator who was working in the museum under the Taliban in 2001 reportedly claimed that the warlords wanted the number of antiquities but days later they came and started breaking the antiquities. He further added that the antiquities are the national treasure and the history of our country and show who lived in the country. The conservators work alongside experts from the University of Chicago's Oriental Institue. Sometimes they work from the archived photos that show the statues intact and in other cases, 3-D imaging and imagination are required to sort the Buddha faces hands and torsos.
Suhail Shaheen, the spokesman for the Taliban told an international media outlet that the group has no plans to destroy antiquities and all the antique artifacts will be preserved in their places. He further added that the artifacts should be preserved for the history and culture education of the upcoming generations. Rahimi is also looking for options for moving the artifacts as the prospects of reintegrating the Taliban in a power-sharing deal might put the artifacts in a threatened position.
(With inputs from agencies)