Canada helps rebuild Murad Khane, by Robert Galbraith

October 17, 2007
The Suburban

Kabul, Afghanistan – Six years after the Taliban’s horrendous bombing of the fabulous Buddha complex at Bamiyan, Afghanistan’s greatest national treasure and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, efforts are being made by the Canadian government to save another great piece of Afghan heritage from death by neglect.
Last week it was announced that Canada would donate $3 million over the next four years in support of the Turquoise Mountain Foundation’s efforts to accelerate the economic, social and cultural regeneration of Murad Khane, a historic commercial and residential district in Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul.
For over 30 years this historic district had been used as a landfill site for garbage, and had been smothered by a layer of compacted trash over two metres deep. Destined for an appointment with the wrecker’s ball, the 16-acre district’s 200-year-old buildings, architectural treasures of Afghan culture, had been abandoned and many had collapsed. Then in 2006, the Turquoise Mountain Foundation stepped in to ring the warning bell. Among other efforts, the foundation has helped clear garbage, restore infrastructure and homes, and provide literacy, health and vocational training to residents.
“One thing I should say is that we are incredibly grateful to the government of Canada. Here we have a government which is looking at the whole situation in Afghanistan,” commented Anna Woodiwiss, Director of Development and Communications for the foundation. “We also hope that the investment by Canada will spur other investments by other countries in Afghanistan.” More and photos

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