(MENAFN- Daily Outlook Afghanistan) KABUL - A special meeting attended by officials from Ministry ofInformation and Culture and representatives of the United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) was held in Kabul on Saturday todiscuss ways to protect the 900-year-old Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan's Ghorprovince – which is on the verge of collapse due to recent flash floods.
The minaret is located in Ghor, around 200 kilometers east of Herat in thewest of Afghanistan, at the confluence of the Hari Rud and Jam Rud rivers. Theisolated location of the minaret may have prevented the monument fromintentional destruction over nearly 900 years.
The minaret is believed to have been built between 1163 and 1203 during thereign of the Ghurid sovereign Ghyias-ud-Din. It has been on the UNESCO List ofWorld Heritage Properties in Danger since 2002.
The minaret is 62 meters high and was built entirely of baked bricks and isfamous for its intricate brick, stucco and glazed tile decoration.
Minaret of Jam after the Qutub Minar in New Delhi is the second tallestbrick-built minaret in the world.
A number of lames said the Afghan government, especially the Ministry of Informationand Culture, and the UNESCO have not paid the required attention to protect theendangered monument in Ghor.
Herat officials, however, said that almost 300 employees were assigned tochange the direction of the flood and their mission was successfullyaccomplished on Saturday.
'Palaces that are not even hundred years old (are being reconstructed), butcultural and historic heritages such a Minaret of Jam which is over 800 yearsold, unfortunately, have been forgotten and it is an obvious discriminationagainst the cultural heritage and historical sites of west zone, Abdul ZahirTamim, an MP, said.
'The Minaret of Jam's budget documents should be assessed comprehensively,Keramuddin Reza Zada, an MP said.
Acting Minister of Information and Culture Hasina Safi said at the meetingthat they are working on protection of the minaret.
'It is not easy. It is not just a wall. It is not such an ancient site thatwe can reconstruct it. It is centuries of Afghanistan's history, Safi said.
The Presidential Palace in a statement said that it was decided in thecabinet meeting on Saturday to send a team to Ghor and assess the status of theminaret.
Imran Khan Massoudi, an advisor to the UNESCO office in Kabul, saidmillions of dollars are needed for protection and maintenance of the minaret.
Massoudi said UNESCO has allocated $2 million for assessing and protectionof the minaret.
'At any level you want, UNESCO has an obligation to find experts from anycorner of the world. But the order should come from the Ministry of Informationand Culture and from the Afghan government. UNESCO alone never can make adecision or can take action, said Massoudi. (Tolo news)
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