Aga Khan Trust launches website to track cultural threats in Afghanistan

The platform will be a repository of verified information on potential dangers to heritage landmarks

In this photograph taken on October 6, 2016 an Afghan boy carries a sack over his shoulders as he crosses a river at Lashkar Gah in Helmand province. / AFP PHOTO / WAKIL KOHSAR
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The Aga Khan Trust for Culture in Afghanistan has launched an information platform to track threats to cultural heritage in the country.

The Aga Khan Cultural Services' list will be hosted on major social media platforms of Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and will allow the group to log threats to sites of historical importance and bring them to international attention.

The website will also form a repository of information indicating potential dangers to these areas. These can arise from a number of fronts, including economic development, Taliban policy, continuing conflict and climate change.

In its announcement, the committee said it had developed the website in “response to the need for unbiased and balanced information on cultural heritage”.

Community members can privately share news to be posted, but each piece of information on the website will be verified by members of the Aga Khan Trust before it is put online.

The platform launched with the story of a planned demolition of a fortress in Helmand that was halted in the last week by local community groups. Located along the Helmand River in the town of Grishk, the fortress is understood to date as far back as the eight century.

The fortress in Grishk was almost demolished last week. Photo: Special Collections, Harvard University Fine Arts Library

International interest in Afghan cultural heritage remains high and impartial information from the ground remains hard to come by. However, the Aga Khan Trust for Culture continues to staff and run its projects in the country.

Updated: September 23, 2021, 1:58 PM