The cultural arm of the United Nations, UNESCO, is discussing plans to repair the damage done to the cultural heritage of Afghanistan. It aims to coordinate international efforts. This report from Lawrence Pollard:
This three day conference was originally planned for Kabul but has been moved to Paris because of the unstable situation in the Afghan Capital. And that gives a good idea of how huge the task facing UNESCO really is. The basic aspiration is that culture should serve as a rallying point for nation building - in practice neither the finances nor the security conditions seem very favourable. But Unesco can and will be drawing up a strategy for what needs to be done, based on repair, protection and finance. It wants better coordination of projects and more of the promised finances to materialise. The distance still to travel is enormous, though. The Kabul museum has no roof, may have to be relocated, and the 30% of its collection which hasn't been recently destroyed has to remain in secret storage for its own safety. Another headline issue is Bamiyan, the site of the world famous rock statues of the Buddha, blown up by the Taleban in 2001. Despite ambitious plans to rebuild them as replicas, much more basic and urgent is the shoring up of the cliff face, which is in danger of collapsing, and simply collecting and protecting the remaining fragments of the statues. The woeful ongoing situation of open archaeological sites which are being systematically plundered by antique smugglers will be another priority issue.