Afghanistan - UNESCO calls for the protection of cultural heritage in its diversity

23 August 2021

Amid the rapidly unfolding events, and twenty years after the deliberate destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas, a World Heritage site, UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay calls for the preservation of Afghanistans cultural heritage in its diversity, in full respect of international law, and for taking all necessary precautions to spare and protect cultural heritage from damage and looting. UNESCO is closely following the situation on the ground and is committed to exercising all possible efforts to safeguard the invaluable cultural heritage of Afghanistan.

Any damage or loss of cultural heritage will only have adverse consequences on the prospects for lasting peace and humanitarian relief for the people of Afghanistan.

UNESCO further underlines the need for a safe environment for the ongoing work of the countrys cultural heritage professionals and artists, who play a central role for Afghanistans national cohesion and social fabric.

Afghanistan is home to a wide range of rich and diverse heritage, which is an integral part of Afghan history and identity, as well as of importance for humanity as a whole, that must be safeguarded. This includes sites such as the Old City of Herat, the UNESCO World Heritage sites of the Minaret and Archaeological Remains of Jam and the Cultural Landscape and Archaeological Remains of the Bamiyan Valley, where UNESCO has been working for several decades, as well as museums including the National Museum in Kabul. It is crucial for the future of Afghanistan to safeguard and preserve these landmarks.

Media contact: Thomas Mallard (

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