US authorities on Monday returned 33 antiquities valued approximately $1.8 million to Afghanistan.
The antiquities were handed over to the Afghan ambassador by the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the Department of Homeland Security.
The artifacts were part of a hoard of 2,500 objects valued at $143 million seized in a dozen raids between 2012 and 2014 from Subhash Kapoor, a disgraced Manhattan art dealer currently jailed in India on smuggling and theft charges.
Upon receiving the items, many of them delicate heads made from stucco, clay and a soft stone known as schist, Afghan ambassador Roya Rahmani warned that “the environment that allows for the plundering of Afghanistan’s treasured antiquities is the same environment that allows for the perpetuation of conflict.”
“Traffickers are not just robbing Afghanistan of its history,” she added. “They are perpetuating a situation where peace does not manifest and the region does not stabilize. Looting Afghanistan’s past is looting Afghanistan’s future.”
The objects repatriated on Monday will be housed in the National Museum in Kabul.