First, a bit of good news. Despite previous threats to shut down archeological work and begin the mass destruction of this ancient site, a planned Chinese copper mine has not begun its work. In February of this year archeologists were given just six months to complete their work, work that could go on for decades if allowed to properly excavate what appears to be an ancient city upon a city upon a city, layers of history made rich in part by the mineral wealth that today threatens the entire site.
The bad news comes today from the Mes Aynak page at facebook:
ALL foreign archaeologists have left the site due to safety and Afghan archaeologists are working now with no funding.
And with Karzai going to China to appease the mining company and let them out of their obligations to Afghanistan like building infrastructure, a railway and a power-plant in the area – I FEAR the worst for this incredible ancient Buddhist city.We need to rally support once again or else Afghanistan will lose its history all for the financial benefit of a mining company and a few corrupt officials.
Visit their page to see and/or offer comments on what can be done to preserve this precious piece of human history.
Here you can listen to a wonderful audio interview from last November of Brent Huffman on PRI (public radio international):
Here is a more recent interview with video from the NYTimes (April 2013).