Afghanistan Returned Looted Cultural Artifacts in US
WASHINGTON -The US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) returned five stolen gold artifacts and an ancient vase to Afghanistan in Washington a day earlier. HSI Assistant Director for the Office of International Affairs John Connolly presented the objects to Afghan Ambassador to the United States, Eklil Hakimi.
“Afghanistan is a nation with a proud cultural heritage, and I’m delighted that HSI has been instrumental in returning to the Afghan people a long lost piece of their history that should have never been stolen,” Connolly said at the presentation ceremony.
“Today marks HSI’s fourth cultural repatriation to Afghanistan since 2005. We are committed to the continued cooperation between our countries and beating back this illicit trade through dedicated law enforcement efforts, partnerships and training thus preserving and protecting the world’s ancient and valued treasures.”
For his part, Hakimi said these items were national treasures which formed the country’s identity and distinguished Afghanistan from the rest of the world. ‘“We are grateful to the US government, particularly US Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations for returning these extraordinary symbols of our past civilisations to their rightful owner today.”
The ambassador said as they looked look beyond 2014 into the ‘Transformation Decade,’ the repatriation of these artifacts assured them that Afghanistan would once again thrive as a cultural and artistic hub. “We value our relationship with the United States and the assistance they have provided in helping to preserve our nation’s history and identity.”
The vase is a 12.75-inch Roman oinochoe, or wine pitcher, from the 5th to 8th century AD Also returned were three 4-by-3.25-inch 5th century BC gold foil appliques depicting antelopes and two antique coiled gold ornaments from approximately the 17th century, weighing approximately one pound. (PAN)