The customs office of Hamid Karzai International Airport said that 978 artifacts that were intercepted at the Kabul airport and prevented from being smuggled abroad were handed over to the National Museum on Sunday.
The artifacts were recovered during searches from passengers, said Shams-Ul-Ahad Alokozai, the head of the customs office of the airport.
“The support for local industries as well as the prevention of artifact smuggling is a responsibility of the customs office,” said Alokozai.
The artifacts included necklaces, dishes, guns, knives and others items.
Meanwhile, an artifact made of a marked marble stone that dates back three centuries was also handed over to the museum. The design on it is from the Timurids miniatures era.
“The artifact dates back to 304 years during the Timurids reign,” said Abdul Azim Hakakzada, an artist.
The Ministry of Information and Culture said that illegal excavation and smuggling of artifacts has increased in recent years.
“The smuggling of artifacts, illegal excavations and the manipulation of cultural heritage for misuse is treason,” said Tahir Zuhair, the acting minister of information and culture.
Figures by the National Museum show that more than 15,000 artifacts have been recovered over the last 15 years.
The museum officials said that 18 artifacts have been identified in museums in Japan, England, Germany and the US, and they will be returned to the country in the next few months.