President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani said on Sunday historic relics and sites were Afghanistan’s assets and the Afghans felt pride over their existence.
The president said this while talking to a delegation of the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) at his office, a statement from the Presidential Palace said.
The delegation has arrived in Afghanistan to attend the ceremony that officially marked Bamyan City, the capital of central Bamyan province, as the cultural capital of SAARC for the year 2015.
President Ghani thanked SAARC for courtesy and giving Bamyan City the privilege to serve as the cultural capital of regional countries, the statement said.
He said Afghanistan enjoyed historic relations with SAARC countries and hoped the status of Bamyan City as the cultural capital would further strengthen the relations.
The president said invaders had historically failed to occupy Afghanistan, but pushed the country into darkness and ignorance. He said 2,000 years back Afghanistan had been the centre of trade between South and Central Asia for goods and services.
Ghani condemned the destruction of the two Buddah statues and termed it an attack on the assets of Afghanistan. He pledged the government would rehabilitate the damaged parts of the historical relics.
The president also sought SAARC countries help in shifting historic monuments to safety during mining of natural resources.
SAARC Secretary General Arjun Bahadur Thapa said: “Afghanistan is bestowed with heritage sites and relics which need to be introduced on international level. Such sites attract tourists and the delegation wants to see more of these places.”
He also lauded the arrangements made for the ceremony that marked Bamyan City as the cultural capital of SAARC and congratulated the president for its successful execution.