Afghanistan: patrimony plundered

After the fall of the Taleban regime, the ancient city of Balkh is being stripped of its antiquities, which are being pillaged and sold to foreign dealers.

The first Arab settlers called the city of Balkh, in northern Afghanistan, “the mother of all cities”. It was the ancient capital of the Greek kingdom of Baktriana, where the Iranians lived and where Zoroaster founded the Zoroastrian religion.

Swarms of people descend on the ruins, looking for ancient coins, statues, ceramic tiles and precious stones. These are taken to international dealers in Pakistan and sold to the world market.

Centuries after having been conquered by Alexander the Great, Genghis Khan’s Mongol Golden Horde razed the city. Now its heritage is being plundered from its ruins and dispersed around the world.


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