Ancient Afghan Sites Threatened by Mining

Sites located in unstable regions of the world (especially those in active conflict) are perpetually in danger due to violence, lack of over-sight, and higher rates of criminal activity (such as looting). Afghanistan is a country with a rich history. Its endangered Buddhist sites first entered the news with the Bamiyan Buddhas, which the Taliban blew up in 2001.

Today, the country’s antiquities are in danger due to development and mining firms. The Buddhist site of Mes Aynak has recently come under threat by a Chinese mining company that wants to destroy the site in order to access the copper veins underneath. The country is especially vulnerable now due to the economic hardship compounding the civil unrest.

Dr. Massoudi, the Director of the National Museum (who has seen its coffers looted by the Taliban and later by insurgents), has stated publicly:

“In three decades of war, a lot of our cultural heritage has been destroyed, damaged and looted. These artefacts do not belong to the country, it’s human treasure that belongs to everybody.”

You can read more about this issue in this BBC Article.

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