Highlights:

  • The Taliban ministry of information and culture has affirmed that they are working to track and locate the Bactrian treasure, popularly known as Bactrian Gold
  • Ahmadullah Wasiq informed that they have assigned the relevant departments the task to find and check on the Bactrian treasure
  • In February 2021, the former Afghanistan government placed the Bactrian Treasure in the presidential palace

The Taliban ministry of information and culture has affirmed that they are working to track and locate the Bactrian treasure, popularly known as Bactrian Gold, unveiled four decades ago in the Tela Tapa area of Sherberghan district, the center of northern Jawzjan province.

Deputy head of the cultural commission of the Taliban interim cabinet, Ahmadullah Wasiq informed that they have assigned the relevant departments the task to find and check on the Bactrian treasure.

Local media quoted Ahmadullah Wasiq saying, “The issue is under investigation, and we will collect information to know what the reality is. If it is transferred (out of Afghanistan), it is treason against Afghanistan.” He added that the government of Afghanistan will take serious actions if this and other ancients are taken away from the country.

As per National Geographic, the Bactrian treasure comprises thousands of gold pieces from all across the ancient world and was unearthed from six tombs, dating from the first century BC to the first century AD. The magazine stated, “They contained more than 20,000 objects, including golden rings, coins, weapons, earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and crowns. In addition to gold, many of these were crafted from precious stones such as turquoise, carnelian, and lapis lazuli.”

According to scholars, the grave belonged to six wealthy Asian nomads, five women and one man stated National Geographic. In 2016, the magazine narrated, “The 2000-year-old artifact found with them exhibit a rare blend of aesthetic influences (from Persian to classical Greek) and the great number of precious objects found surprised the archaeologists, in particular the intricate golden crown found in the sixth tomb.”

In February 2021, the former Afghanistan government placed the Bactrian Treasure in the presidential palace. It was also on display for public viewing. Following the collapse of the government, concerns were raised over its safety. According to local media reports, Wasiq assured that any contract signed with the international community over the protection of ancient and historical monuments will remain in place.

However, he also added that their assessment states that items of the national museum, the national archives, national gallery and other historical and ancient monuments are safe in their places. Reportedly, Kabul residents too voiced that Bactrian treasure is a national asset and should be protected. They further questioned, “Why should they have transferred it? It should remain in the country,”

Earlier in December 2020, media reported that the Bactrian treasure collection has been shown in almost 13 countries in the last 13 years which brought over 350 million Afghanis to the country’s contemporary treasury.

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