Following UNESCO’s warning to Daesh and other militant groups against attacking heritage sites, Afghanistan’s new Minister of Information and Culture, Abdul Bari Jahani on Tuesday said his ministry is unable to restore historic sites that militants destroy as the ministry only gets 0.2 percent of the country’s total annual national budget.
Afghanistan’s annual budget for 2015 is 436.1 billion Afghanis.
Mapping out his 100-day plan, Bari noted that from his budget, 20 percent is allocated to cultural activities while the remainder goes to paying salaries.
“As most of our historic sites need reconstruction, we need to rebuild 15 to 20 sites annually but due to lack of budget, only a few of them are being rebuilt,” Bari said.
His statements came a day after UNESCO announced the destruction by Daesh of antiquities and heritage sites in conflict zones could amount to war crimes.
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee in a meeting in Bonn, Germany, on Monday adopted a resolution condemning “intentional attacks against buildings dedicated to religion, education, art, science or charitable purposes and historic monuments.”
It warned that attacking such sites “may amount to war crimes”.
In addition, it also launched the “Unite4Heritage” campaign, a global coalition for the protection of cultural heritage.
UNESCO noted cultural treasures were under threatened in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Syria and Yemen.