Climate change threatens Afghanistan’s crumbling heritage

18 January, 2020 12:00 AM printer

BAMIYAN: After bearing the brunt of jihadist dynamite and looting by thieves, the archaeological treasures of Afghanistan’s Bamiyan province are facing a new and possibly more daunting threat: climate change, reports AFP.

Nestled in the heart of the Hindu Kush mountains, the Bamiyan valley’s picturesque cliffs—where centuries-old Buddha statues were destroyed by the Taliban in 2001 — still contain a network of caves housing temples, monasteries, and Buddhist paintings.

The valley is also home to the silk-road era Shahr-e Gholghola fortress and the Shar-e Zohak citadel to the east.

Experts say that a pattern of dry spells followed by heavy rain, and larger than usual spring snowmelts, is putting this historic art and architecture at risk of destruction.

Afghan officials warned in a 2016 United Nations report that the structures “may collapse and suffer from severe erosion”due to conditions directly linked to climate change.

“The erosion processes are much faster, the rains more devastating and the wind erosion stronger, which has an extremely harsh impact on the sites,” Philippe Marquis, the director of the French Archaeological Delegation in Afghanistan, told AFP.