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Chinese copper mining operation will destroy ancient Buddhist Monastery complex in Afghanistan – UPDATED

September 5, 2012

This news is downright disturbing. According to this CNN report, a Chinese copper mining operation will destroy a 2,600-year old Buddhist Monastery complex in Afghanistan.  Archaeologists are racing to excavate and save as much as possible before the site is dynamited and bulldozed.  The report  by documentary filmmaker Brent Huffman says it would take 35 years to properly excavate this site – instead, workers only have until December of this year.

UPDATE – The New York Times has an important and extensive article about mining activities in Afghanistan – both legal and illegal – and details concerns about corruption and political dealmaking.  There is only one fleeting reference to the presence of cultural artifacts in a mining site, and no discussion about how mining activities will impact Afghanistan’s cultural patrimony.

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