PARIS — The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, the United Nations’ cultural agency, has called for the preservation of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage in its diversity and with full respect to international law.

“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,” said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization in a statement.

This statement comes a few days after the Taliban blew up slain Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari’s—a Shiite militia and political leader of the Hezb-e Wahdat party— statue in Bamiyan, a grim reminder of the destruction of Bamiyan Buddhas in 2001.

In 2001, the Taliban destroyed the historic Buddhas of Bamiyan, two massive statues carved into a mountainside and dating to the sixth century.

It was said that the Buddhas, testimony to an ancient community of monks that lived in caves within the cliffs, symbolize the cultural richness of this national heritage. The Taliban’s destruction of these statues serves as another testament to their disregard for the true Afghanistan.

“Afghanistan is home to a wide range of rich and diverse heritage, which is an integral part of Afghan history and identity, as well as of importance for humanity as a whole, that must be safeguarded,” said the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.

This includes sites such as the Old City of Herat, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s World Heritage sites of the Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam, the Cultural Landscape, and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley and museums like the National Museum in Kabul.

Amid the rapidly unfolding events, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization is closely following the situation on the ground and is committed to exercising all possible efforts to safeguard the invaluable cultural heritage of the country.

“This includes sites such as the Old City of Herat, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization World Heritage sites of the Minaret and Archeological Remains of Jam and the Cultural Landscape and Archeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, where United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization has been working for several decades, as well as museums including the National Museum in Kabul,” said UNESCO in the statement.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization further underlined the need for a safe environment for the ongoing work of the country’s cultural heritage professionals and artists.

The future of Afghanistan must safeguard and preserve these landmarks, the statement added.

“It is crucial for the future of Afghanistan to safeguard and preserve these landmarks.”

(With inputs from ANI)

Edited by Saptak Datta and Ritaban Misra



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