Plundering Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage

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Plundering Afghanistan's Cultural Heritage

Plundering of Afghanistan’s Cultural Heritage

Researchers from the University of Chicago have identified 162 archaeological sites in Afghanistan that have been completely destroyed and looted with bulldozers since 2018.

Afghanistan continues to suffer from the consequences of antiquities trafficking. French TV network France 24 reported that the University of Chicago has sounded the alarm on this issue, as the worrisome trend of looting has escalated in recent years. Researchers from the Center for the Protection of Cultural Heritage at the University of Chicago stated in a report that they have identified a new form of plundering, where bulldozers have been used to excavate 162 archaeological sites between 2018 and 2021, even before and during the Taliban’s rise to power and under the new government up to now.

To reach such observations, they studied thousands of satellite images. Professor Gil Stein explains that between 2020 and 2022, they developed an artificial intelligence system that allows computers to identify archaeological sites in satellite images.

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