GLOBAL CONNECTIONS: the Near/Middle East
May 12, 1993-present: The National Museum in Afghanistan falls to ruins.

Afghanistan's first national museum housed an impressive record of Central Asian history dating back as far as the sixth century B.C.E. Twice slammed by rockets and recklessly looted, many of the finer artifacts are being sold on the international art market. Attempts have been made to secure the remaining collection, but many pieces were too large to move, and deteriorated in the ruins. More than 70 percent of its collection has been destroyed or stolen. With the fall of the Taliban, efforts are under way to protect and conserve what remains.

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The Taliban destroyed much of Afghanistan's cultural heritage during its five-year rule. Before retreating from the capital, the Taliban's culture minister oversaw the destruction of exhibits at the national museum.