QALA-I-NAW (Pajhwok): Residents of western Badghis province are concerned about illegal digging at historic sites, but the Information and Culture department says dozens of people have been arrested in this regard.
Ghulam Rasoul, a resident, expressed his concern about unauthorized digging to find artifacts at historic sites and monuments had long been taking place.
He told Pajhwok Afghan News that the illegal digging had been ongoing since many years and no government had tried to prevent it.
He said the past governments had been careless in preserving historic sites and monuments and protecting them from looters.
A resident of Ab Kamari district, on the condition of anonymity, shared some pictures with Pajhwok. In the pictures local residents can be seen looting the stones of Nariman Citadel and using them in construction of their houses.
Nariman Citadel is one of the dozens of historic monuments of Badghis province situated on a hill around 30 kilometers away west of Qala-i-Naw, the provincial capital.
Mohammad Yar, another resident of Badghis, called personal use of such historic sites unacceptable and urged the provincial authorities to protect the heritage sites.
“Such historic sites and monuments reflect the cultural image of a society and the government should take practical measures for the protection of these sites,” he added.
Sayed Aqa Erfaq, a cultural activist, told Pajhwok: “If a nation does not protect its historic monuments and other historic values, it loses proof for its identity”.
He said the government authorities must prepare different plans for the protection and repair of such monuments.
Information and Culture Department officials admit illegal digging by some wrongdoers in historic sites of the province.
Matiullah Muttaqi, the provincial information and culture department head, told Pajhwok that they were committed to protecting historic sites from illegal diggers.
According to Muttaqi, security forces have so far arrested 30 individuals involved in illegal excavations in historic sites and have referred them to judicial organs.
Muttaqi said he had asked districts and provincial officials through an official letter to take practical measures for the protection of historic monuments and sites.
According to figures with the Information and Culture Department, so far 57 historic monuments have been registered in Badghis.