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Afghan Artifacts Return After Years in Exile


A large collection of artifacts and relics has been returned to Afghanistan after years in the protective care of a Swiss museum.

At a ceremony Saturday, officials at the National Museum of Afghanistan opened crates containing more than 1,400 valuable items, including many pieces that are thousands of years old.

One notable piece, a glass phallus, is linked to the foundation stone of a city in northern Afghanistan (Ai-Khanum). Experts say the object was touched by Alexander the Great some 2,300 years ago.

In 1999, the so-called "Museum-in-Exile" was created in Switzerland to protect Afghanistan's historical items from destruction.

Afghanistan's National Museum was ransacked during Taleban rule. Six years ago, the Taleban blew up two massive Buddha statues at Bamiyan that were part of the nation's cultural and artistic heritage.

The curator of the Swiss museum, Paul Bucherer-Dietschi, said he believes the returned artifacts may help Afghanistan find peace through its traditional culture.

Some information for this report provided by Reuters, AP and AFP.

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