H.E. President Karzai inaugurates national museum
Kabul, September 29, 2004 â€“ H.E. President Hamid Karzai inaugurated Afghanistan's rebuilt national museum today. The President cut a pink ribbon to mark the completion of the refit of the two-story museum, whose building was destroyed in civil war and whose collection was further decimated by the Taliban.
President Karzai inspected tables laden with pieces of artifacts smashed after the Taliban captured the capital in 1996 and banned human images as un-Islamic.
He peered over the shoulder of a white-coated restorer trying to put a statue back together.
The entire top floor of the museum was destroyed during the civil war, which broke out among Afghanistan's mujahideen factions after Soviet occupiers withdrew in 1989.
Officials rescued some of the collection from the destruction and looters, but Taliban-sanctioned mobs demolished much of what was left after the hardline militia captured the city in 1996.
Some $350,000 has been spent since 2003 to fix the building, which lies in the shadow of a gutted former royal palace in the war-ravaged west of the capital.
H.E. the Minister of Culture and Information Makhdom Raheen said 2,500 artifacts had been recovered from the collection, which was once one of the finest in Central Asia with 100,000 items dated back several millennia. A few dozen have been repaired.
The museum still needs display cases, security systems and trained staff before it can open to the public, officials said.