Afghanistan Museum Reopens after Taliban Ransacking Last August

The National Museum of Afghanistan has reopened once again for the first time since the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in mid-August amid the hurried withdrawal of US and NATO troops after 20 years of presence, AP reported.

National Museum of Afghanistan director, Mohammad Fahim Rahimi, and his staff have so far been allowed to continue in their duties along with other staff aside from security guards.

Like other civil servants in Afghanistan, the employees of the museum also have not received salaries since August.

Rahimi said the Taliban will provide female security guards to check female visitors who are among the 50-100 people visiting the museum each day.

Hinting toward power shortages, Rahimi said that power cuts are frequent and the museum’s generator has broken down with many exhibition rooms plunged into darkness.

“This is from our ancient history, so we came to see it,” AP quoted a Taliban fighter Mansoor Zulfiqar, a 29-year-old, as saying.

Zulfiqar, who has now been appointed as a security guard at the Interior Ministry, said that he was very happy as he visited the museum for the first time.

Before the collapse of the Taliban regime in 2001, the Taliban ransacked the museum, smashing priceless statues, especially ones considered un-Islamic.

Currently, Taliban members are visiting the museum and guarding its building,

“The 2001 destruction of artifacts in the museum had been carried out by lower-ranking Taliban members without orders from top-ranking officials,” Saifullah, a 40-year-old Taliban member from Wardak province and teacher in a madrassa, an Islamic religious school, told AP.

Touring the museum for the first time, Saifullah, said he would encourage his students, some of whom were now guarding the museum itself, to visit the National Museum of Afghanistan.

“Generations can learn from this, and what we had in the past,” he said, adding, “We have a rich history.”

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