The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) called on Thursday for the preservation of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage in all of its diversity, as well as taking all precautions to protect the country’s historic assets from “damage and looting,” amid a deepening crisis in the war-torn nation since the Taliban’s takeover.
UNESCO also recalled the “deliberate destruction” of the renowned Bamiyan Buddhas, a world heritage site in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley, in 2001 in a statement.
In the midst of the quickly unfolding events and 20 years after the purposeful destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay has appealed for the protection of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage, according to a statement.
Azoulay shared the UNESCO statement and tweeted, “We are calling for the preservation of #Afganisthancultural heritage in its diversity, in full respect of international law, and for taking all necessary precautions to spare and protect cultural heritage from damage and looting.”
The Taliban stormed through the nation last month, gaining control of nearly all major towns and cities against the backdrop of the US troop departure, which began on May 1. On August 15, the capital city of Kabul fell to the Taliban, despite the fact that a huge number of Afghans sought in vain to leave the war-torn country.
The insurgents are now attempting to represent themselves as more moderate than they were when they established a harsh regime in the late 1990s. Many Afghans, however, remain dubious, fearing a return of the “regressive” rule. The terrible photos of the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas have resurfaced in the popular mind following the Taliban takeover.
The UNESCO in its statement Thursday also said it is “closely following the situation on the ground and is committed to exercising all possible efforts”.
“Any damage or loss of cultural heritage will only have adverse consequences on the prospects for lasting peace and humanitarian relief for the people of Afghanistan,” it said.
Heritage Must Be Protected: UNESCO
According to the statement, UNESCO also emphasized the need for a secure environment for the continued work of the country’s cultural heritage experts and artists, who play a critical role in Afghanistan’s national cohesiveness and social fabric.
“Afghanistan is home to a varied variety of rich and diversified legacy, which is an important element of Afghan history and identity, as well as of value to mankind as a whole, and must be preserved,” it said.
This includes the Old City of Herat, the UNESCO world heritage sites of the Minaret and the archaeological remains of Jam, and the cultural landscape and archaeological remains of the Bamiyan Valley, where the world body has been working for decades, as well as museums such as the National Museum in Kabul, according to the world body.
“It is critical for Afghanistan’s future to conserve and preserve these landmarks,” the statement added.
Early this year, UNESCO commemorated the 20th anniversary of the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas.
“The empty niches of the colossal Buddhas in Afghanistan’s Bamiyan Valley serve as a constant reminder of our responsibility to safeguard cultural heritage, and what future generations stand to lose if we do not. These nooks are now included on the World Heritage List “It had stated.
“The terrible destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas in March 2001, which was televised throughout the world, resulted in a global realization of the need to safeguard cultural treasures at risk.” “UNESCO has stated.