Libraries and Museums

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The few major libraries are located in Kabul. However, most of the materials in the Kabul University Library (founded in 1931) were dispersed during the war; the National Archives has also been looted and its collections removed. The Kabul National Museum (1922), the largest in the country, is best known for its collection of early Buddhist relics. Some of the more valuable of these were reported to have been removed to the USSR during the years of the Soviet occupation; their present location is unknown. Ancient gold coins and jewelry were reported to have been taken as well. In 1993 the National Museum was blown open by rockets and subsequently looted by soldiers. Some 90 percent of the enormously rich collection was taken out through Pakistan and sold to wealthy collectors in other countries. The trade in Afghan antiquities has been reported to be one of the largest producers of illicit revenues after illegal drugs.

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