Kabul: Archaeologists in Afghanistan, where Taliban Islamists are fighting the Western-backed government, have uncovered Buddhist-era remains in an area south of Kabul, an official said on Tuesday.
"There is a temple, stupas, beautiful rooms, big and small statues, two with the length of seven and nine meters, colorful frescos ornamented with gold and some coins," said Mohammad Rasouli, head of the Afghan archaeological department. "Some of the relics date back to the 5th century AD. We have come across signs that there are items maybe going back to the era before Christ or prehistory," he said.
The excavation site extends over 12km in the Aynak region of Logar province just south of Kabul. Rasouli said smugglers managed to loot and destroy some relics before the government excavation work began last year.
The Taliban have destroyed Buddhist statues at Bamiyan during its five-year control of the country from 1996 to 2001.
Rasouli said the government did not have the resources to move the relics from the remote area, which has seen some clashes during the insurgency.