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Afghanistan’s Buddhist site preservation promised

in Afghan Business

Afghanistan’s Buddhist site preservation promised

The Afghan government has promised to preserve a historic Buddhist site at the Ainak copper project site.

The grounds of Mes Aynak in Logar province are a sprawling 9,800-acre (4,000-hectare) trove of Buddhist monastery ruins, statues and tombs that sit largely preserved under layers of unexcavated earth. It is also the site of a massive Chinese-funded project to extract an increasingly valuable regional commodity – copper.

Mes Aynak, meaning “little copper well”, was the center of a Buddhist kingdom before Islam came to Afghanistan. It is thought that monks settled here for its ample supply of copper, which brought them great wealth and allowed them to build a grand monastery.

A Chinese company was awarded the USD 3bn contract for extraction on the site.

As demolition work is scheduled to begin next month, Buddhists have launched a global campaign to halt the project.

The Ministry of Information and Culture has pledged to do “whatever possible” to conserve the site and the artifacts obtained from it.

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