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Afghan National Museum welcomes home ancient sculpture from Germany

January 31, 2012

Germany recently returned an ancient artifact to the Afghan National Museum. During Afghanistan's 17-year civil war, the Afghan National Museum was looted, and approximately 70 percent of the 100,000 or so objects on display were stolen and then traded, sold or destroyed, according to the BBC News. One limestone sculpture dating back to the second century surfaced in Munich last year, and was flown to Kabul to be reinstated in the Afghan museum.

"This is a masterpiece," Omara Khan Massoudi, the museum director, told reporters, according to Reuters. "I am optimistic that in the future we will get the other artifacts back. This is our responsibility... According to our laws, they must be returned to Afghanistan."

In order to organize the return of the ancient sculpture, Massoudi had to make calls to Germany. He hopes that this will inspire the return of other items lost during the civil war lootings. The news source reports that the British Museum is currently in possession of about 20 ivory artifacts, and international efforts by UNESCO and Interpol have helped to recover more than 8,000 items since 2007. There are still tens of  thousands of works missing, and Massoudi believes at least 2,500 artifacts have already been destroyed, the BBC reports.

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