Development News from Afghanistan

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Denmark to return 4,000 Afghan treasures

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May 17, 2007

KABUL (AFP) – Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen handed his Afghan counterpart a small, ancient replica of a lion, saying it was the first of 4,000 Afghan treasures his government would return.

Danish border police had a few years ago confiscated a hoard of Afghan artefacts that the government wanted to bring back to the country, Rasmussen told reporters at a media briefing with President Hamid Karzai.

“And symbolically, I would like to hand over one of the 4,000 pieces of this treasure to President Karzai,” he said, giving his counterpart a nine-inch model of a lion.

Afghanistan has lost most of its ancient heritage through its decades of war in which looting and smuggling was rampant.

About 1,300 ethnographic and archaeological objects were returned in March from a museum in Switzerland.

Rasmussen also restated Denmark’s plan to increase the number of Danish troops in Afghanistan from the present 400.

The parliament is due to vote on the boost, which the prime minister has said could take the deployment to 600, in a few weeks.

The troops are based mostly in the southern province of Helmand, which sees some of the most intense battles between troops and Taliban militants. Denmark lost its first soldier in combat there two weeks ago.

Rasmussen said his country had also decided to increase its financial assistance to destitute Afghanistan by more than 30 percent, taking it to the equivalent of more than 40 million dollars in a few years.

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Written by afghandevnews

May 19, 2007 at 3:59 am

Posted in Culture and Arts

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