An ancient archeological site in Afghanistan could soon be destroyed in the name of economic profit.
The site at Mes Aynak, in Afghanistan’s Logar Province, is home to 5th-century Buddhist monasteries, temples and other relics, but also sits on one of the largest copper deposits in the world.
A Chinese government-backed company, keen to develop the world’s second largest copper mine, discovered the ruins when they began excavating the site in 2010.
Keen to avoid a Buddhas of Bamiyan situation – statues towering up to 180 feet high in central Afghanistan that were dynamited to the ground in 2001 by the country’s then-rulers, the Taliban, who considered them symbols of paganism – the company has given archaeologists three years for a salvage excavation.
Archaeologists working on the site since May 2010 say that won’t be enough time for full preservation.