The Afghan Ministry of Information and Culture (MoIC) announced on Sunday that 5,260 ancient sites through various Afghan provinces have been detected so far by the satellite research conducted in collaboration with foreign organizations [such as UNESCO and the Oriental Institute].
Qadir Temori, the protagonist of film "Saving Mes Aynak" has led the project as Head of the Archaeology Department of the MoIC. “Our plan has just started and it will continue for five years. I am sure our activities will increase once the final map is ready," Qadir said in the press conference.
According to the report, a number of visitors at the National Museum in Kabul urged government to ensure the safety of historical sites and relics around the country, while the chairman of the Museum, Mohammad Fahim Rahimi, appealed for a new building for the Museum, “because lack of space is a big problem for us."
This is the first time since the April announcement of the satellite project on Mes Aynak that the Afghan government is publicizing results from the research. It is great to hear that archaeology efforts have been ongoing in Afghanistan - certainly a good news for the Christmas holidays! However, it is not clear how or whether the Afghan government will work to preserve and promote these identified archaeological sites against the mining deal. Our work in advocating the cultural preservation of Mes Aynak, therefore, is not done.
2017 is quickly approaching as we stand firmly in our pledge to support Mes Aynak for more years to come.