14 Jan 2007

PR# 2007-042

ISAF’s DOCEX team returns antique weapons to Afghan National Museum

KABUL, Afghanistan – Yesterday, ISAF military personnel from the Document Exploitation (DOCEX) team returned recovered antique weapons to the Government of Afghanistan’s Afghan National Museum in accordance with Afghan Presidential Decree 19.

The law was established in 2004 to encourage citizens to return items stolen from the national museum during years of civil war.

The DOCEX team recovered and returned a nearly six-feet long “pond gun” that was made in Kabul in 1929 and a Gardner Battery gun that was produced in the United States between 1878 and 1881.

Afghanistan enjoys a rich history and the national museum had always been a place where any of its citizens or visitors, regardless of their stature, could visit the ancient remains of its culture.

That was, until many years of war with Russia nearly destroyed the original museum and most of its contents. What wasn’t destroyed was stolen.

Immediately after the fall of the Taliban in Kabul, the museum’s curator, Omara Khan Massoudi, began re-establishing the museum. To date, the museum has received more than 4,000 items for entry.

“The return of these weapons is proof that coalition forces shares my desire to return the museum to its original state and will work hand in hand with us toward achieving this common goal,” said Mr. Massoudi. 

“We are thrilled to be able to give these weapons back to the museum,” said U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Tracy Johnson, a member of the DOCEX team that found the weapons. “This is where they belong and I am thankful we were given the opportunity to return them. When we first discovered the weapons we didn’t know what to do with them, then it became apparent that they were not ordinary weapons. We began to realize that they were antiques and probably belonged in a museum.”

Although the museum is undergoing reconstruction, it is open for business and should be fully operational by the end of the year.

Contact Information ISAF Public Affairs Office
Tel: +93 (0)799 51 1155 - Mobile: 0093 (0) 799 55 8291 pressoffice@hq.isaf.nato.int - www.nato.int/isaf/