The UK Ambassador Nicholas Kay on Saturday visited the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul and praised its staff members for their “fantastic” work to save the museum over the years.
“Delighted to be here at the National Museum of Afghanistan and to see the fantastic work that the director and his staff are doing here,” Mr. Kay said.
He said the United Kingdom is a great supporter of Afghanistan’s cultural heritage & history and over the years his country has helped in small ways the museum and the Afghan government to preserve its heritage.
“The history of your country is as important as your presence and without your history, you will not have a future either,” he stressed.
The National Museum, located near what remains of Kabul’s once-lavish Darulaman Palace, now lying in ruins after being damaged during the Soviet and the civil war between jihadist factions in the country in the 1990s.
During the Taliban era, the museum was almost closed down and many of its items destroyed seen as “pagan idols” by the Taliban, who felt their interpretation of the Islamic Shari’a mandated the destruction of these vestiges of Afghanistan’s pre-Islamic past.
“…We know that over the last 20, 30 years, the museum has suffered a lot and I praise really the efforts of the museum staff over the years to save what you have here,” Mr. Kay said.
“I hope in the future, you will have even more objects return to the museum and have a new museum as well which will be modern and large and something which Afghans can be even more proud of,” he added.
The envoy further said that the British Council is engaged in managing the cultural relationship with Afghanistan and covers work to education especially girls’ education and English language teaching.
“Even some of the museum staff, 15 of the museum staff have had English language training from the British Council,” he said.
The UK ambassador, also noted that the British Council is involved in preserving and conserving the historic heritage of Afghanistan and that they are discussing different ways to support conservation of Afghanistan’s history.