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Last Updated: Saturday, 17 March 2007, 16:31 GMT
Afghan treasures return to Kabul
By Shirley Gordon
BBC News

A golden trinket, part of the collection of treasures returned to Afghanistan
Some of the artefacts date back thousands of years
Hundreds of ancient artefacts taken out of Afghanistan for safe-keeping - or looted - have been returned to Kabul's National Museum.

The artefacts were moved to Switzerland almost a decade ago to protect them during the civil war in Afghanistan.

The oldest artefact dates back 3,500 years and the collection includes carpet slippers and Buddha statues.

The most famous piece is a glass phallus believed to have been touched by Alexander the Great.

Foundation stone

It is thought to be the only object in the world which is known to have been in his hands.

More than 2,000 years old, it was part of the foundation stone of the ancient Greek city of Ai-Khanum, in northern Afghanistan.

The objects were sent in a shipping container from Switzerland which was unlocked in a ceremony outside the National Museum.

Afghan Culture Minister Abdul Karim Khurram said the return of the artefacts showed that it was no longer possible to loot and steal in Afghanistan.

Some of the art treasures being returned to Afghanistan

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