PAN (Translated by RAWA), September 29, 2008

About 30 Historical Relics Stolen from Herat Museum

The detained man is not the actual agent and there are other groups behind the theft

Unknown armed men stole 20 to 30 historical relics including a Buddha statue from the National Museum of Herat.

Old cars of Afghan kings
King Amanullah Khan's (1919-1929) cart
Many historical objects in the Kabul Museum are in a bad condition and are not being carefully preserved

Ghulam Yahya Khushbin, the director of the National Herat Museum told PAN in the afternoon that three unknown armed men had entered the museum (in Arg Ikhtyaruddin of Herat) from the rooftop two nights back and stolen about 30 historical literary objects.

Khushbin added that the missing artifacts included a Buddha statue; two stone-made literary works from the Buddhism era; and other relics of the pre-Islamic and Islamic era, including some dishes of the Ghaznawyan era.

Buddhists lived in the second till the fifth century and the Ghaznawis in the tenth till the eleventh century.

He added that on that night the guards of the museum had arrested one armed man of the three thieves but the other two (who had the historical things) had succeeded to escape in a Corolla car.

The director of the museum said that he believed that the detained man is not the actual agent and there are other groups behind the theft, but he didn’t name them.

Khushbin demanded the police to pay serious attention to the protection of the museum and not allow the cultural heritage of the country to be embezzled.

Officer Jalil Ahmad Baig, crime investigation director of Herat said that another suspect had also been arrested and there is hope that the real identity of the actual agents becomes known and they get arrested.

The Information and Culture Ministry gave the news of the theft of a number of artifacts from the National Museum of Herat in a statement but didn’t mention the number.

The statement, besides the detention of a suspect, mentions that the head of the archaeology of the ministry had been sent to Herat and soon a delegation will be sent for investigation.

According to the information given by the people in charge of the Information and Culture of Herat province the Herat Museum had been made at the time of Amanullah Khan (eight decades back). This museum had many historical remains but most of them had been plundered during the civil war and the Taliban regime.

Later with the help of the people and the new remains discovered, the museum was restored. Today the Herat Museum has about 1584 historical artifact, including precious things belonging the pre-Islamic and Islamic era.

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