They said that a number of residents in Herat’s districts, who face economic challenges and lack the knowledge on the value and importance of the sites, are linked with historical sites traffickers.
Director of Herat’s historical sites Ayamudin Ajmal said that the illegal excavation at archaeological sites, which are mostly located in the districts, has escalated, as more and more district residents are joining hands with the Mafia.
According to Mr. Ajmal, most of the stolen monuments are moved out of the province through the Iranian border with Herat. With support from local security authorities, until now several antiquities shipments to Iranian border have been confiscated.
“Due to lack of sufficient budget and active presence of insurgents in several districts, we are not able to preserve the monuments in those districts,” added Mr. Ajmal.
Herat, having more than 680 historical sites, stands first among Afghanistan’s provinces, followed by Mazar-e-Sharif, Ghazni and Bamyan.
A few years ago anonymous individuals had stolen a few of the monuments from inside Ikhtiyarudin fort, one of the secure places of Herat. A few days later, authorities arrested a man who was convicted of being involved with the case. The person died, after spending several days in Herat jail, under mysterious reasons.