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Taliban Discusses Restoration of Historical Sites With UNESCO

© AP Photo / Massoud HossainiAn Afghan rickshaw driver waits for customers near the historical minarets in the center of Herat city, west of the capital Kabul, Tuesday, April 14, 2015.
An Afghan rickshaw driver waits for customers near the historical minarets in the center of Herat city, west of the capital Kabul, Tuesday, April 14, 2015. - Sputnik India, 1920, 24.01.2023
The Taliban* previously accused UNESCO of playing politics over the application to include Babur's Garden, a 16th-century monument, in its list of world heritage sites.
The Taliban and UNESCO began talks on Monday to restore historical sites and ancient reservoirs in the war-torn country, an Afghan media outlet has reported.
Taliban Deputy Minister of Culture and Information Mawlavi Atiqullah Azizi told UNESCO Culture Program Officer Brendan Cassar that Ghor Jam Minar, Mirwais Nika, and Ahmad Shah Baba shrines were under protection in Kandahar, while Bast Fort in Helmand was also a protected monument at present.
A few historical buildings in Bamyan and Ghazni are also part of the protected list.
Azizi informed the UNESCO point-person in Kabul about the urgent need to restore certain historical buildings in the country, especially the ones that were on the verge of collapsing.
He also urged UNESCO to expedite work on restoring historical places in Afghanistan because the Taliban government was not in a position to do so due to an escalating economic crisis.
In response, Cassar promised to provide assistance in restoring the historical monuments.
A woman wearing a burka walks through the old market as a Taliban fighter stands guard, in downtown Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, May 8, 2022. - Sputnik India, 1920, 20.01.2023
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The news comes weeks after UNESCO's failure to acknowledge the Taliban's receipt of the application to accord world heritage site status to the 16th-century Mughal era Bagh-e Babur (Babur's Garden).
Notably, Taliban authorities submitted nomination papers for the listing of Bagh-e Babur in January 2022, but UNESCO is reportedly yet to respond.
"UNESCO, contrary to its own procedures related to listing important cultural and historic sites from its member states, which Afghanistan has been a member of since around 1948… has unfortunately begun playing a political game in Bagh-e Babur’s case," Azizi told reporters earlier this month.
"Much to the disappointment of the Afghan people it (the dossier) has still not been processed and it really brings into question UNESCO’s nature of work and activities. Listing Bagh-e Babur as a World Heritage Site is the right of the people of Afghanistan and this right must be respected," he added.
The Taliban earned worldwide condemnation for blowing up the giant statue of Lord Buddha in the Bamyan province of Afghanistan during their last stint in power from 1996-2001.
*under UN sanctions for terrorist activities