The Trump administration made a startling announcement last week that it would withdraw from UNESCO, for concerns regarding the group’s “anti-Israel bias” and its amounting arrears.
It was announced, according to the New York Times, that the U.S. government will only continue to provide "American perspective and expertise to UNESCO" "as a nonmember observer." The withdrawal goes into effect at the end of 2018.
Irina Bokova, UNESCO’s director general, however, argued that UNESCO is “so relevant to the political agenda of the American government it’s incredible.” According to her statement, reported in the New York Times, UNESCO’s largest literacy program is in Afghanistan, training teachers and preserving cultural heritage in the liberated areas of Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq.
Despite the discouraging political decision by the Trump administration, UNESCO seems yet to be firm in its plans to help preserve and document artifacts across Mes Aynak over a three-year period. UNESCO is providing its expertise to support archaeological efforts of Afghan's Ministry of Information and Culture - but this does not stop any of the demolition plans of Mes Aynak.
We feel that it's in times like this that all the international supporters of Mes Aynak should stand together to keep raising awareness to the issues on site.