Read aloud A second-century Buddhist city was discovered in Afghanistan. Kaffir Got, as her name is, is still buried under sand in the south of the country. Archaeologists now hope to find in the ruins similar statues of Buddha as those of Bamiyan, reports the online news service Ananova. These rock-cut statues were blown up in March 2001 by the Taliban to eliminate the evidence of the Buddhist religion in the country.

The old city was a "dramatic discovery" that could affect Afghanistan's future cultural life, says Robert Knox, head of the Oriental Department of the British Museum. If it turns out that Kaffir Got was built in the style of the Gandharan culture, that would be a whole new aspect of Afghan antiquity. For so far, this Buddhist culture, which reached its zenith in AD 50, was known only in northern Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The city was probably destroyed by fire and then abandoned by the residents. Charcoal traces in the sand suggest this scenario, writes Ananova. However, Kaffir Got is not immune to destruction today: Unesco fears that finds could be sold on black markets and therefore demands guarding of the site.

Carolin Muck


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