The Taliban’s Kabul Takeover Poses a Enormous Risk to Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage

A standard afghan rubab inside a music store in Kabul, Afghanistan, Might 2, 2021. MARCUS YAM / LOS ANGELES TIMES

This week, the world watched in horror as Afghanistan fell to the Taliban, whose efforts to usurp the nation have led to the takeover of Kabul, Lashkar Gah, Tirin Kot and different provincial capitals. Along with elevating deeply pressing questions concerning what is going to occur to the 1000’s of Afghans at present trying to flee and search asylum elsewhere, the Taliban’s takeover has additionally prompted inquiries into the preservation of Afghanistan’s most treasured cultural artifacts and websites. Twenty years in the past, the final time Kabul was beneath the sway of the Taliban, it’s been estimated that Afghanistan misplaced roughly half of its cultural heritage.

It’s because the Taliban’s Sharia regulation strictly impedes the depiction human beings, deities and different such icons; already, in Kabul, photos of ladies that had been displayed in store fronts have begun to be whitewashed. In response to the Taliban’s latest seizure of energy, the British Council has introduced that its Afghanistan-based heritage initiatives in Afghanistan have been suspended till additional discover. “We’re all ready to see what the overall place goes to be,” Bastien Varoutsikos, the director of a company that digitizes weak heritage websites, advised The Artwork Newspaper. “Cultural heritage websites, practices, all will want assist however at what value? It’s an equation we’ll all have to unravel earlier than deciding what comes subsequent.”

“From a political standpoint, it’s unclear if the Taliban will have interaction in destructions of excessive worth heritage landmarks contemplating the brand new narrative they’re trying to construct,” Varoutsikos added. In line with The Artwork Newspaper, issues might already be trying unhealthy. Kabul’s Nationwide Museum of Afghanistan launched an announcement by way of their Fb web page on August fifteenth saying the next: “Sadly, at this time Kabul metropolis has witnessed unprecedented chaos; utilizing the chance looters and smugglers in several components of Kabul have looted non-public and public properties. Nonetheless, the museum employees, artifacts, and items are protected but, however continuation of this chaotic state of affairs causes an enormous concern concerning the security of museum’s artifacts and items.”