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Cultural Property, Art and Antiquities Investigations
06/27/2013

TOP STORY: Arms antiquity recovered and officially returned to Afghanistan

Arms antiquity recovered and officially returned to Afghanistan
Arms antiquity recovered and officially returned to Afghanistan
Arms antiquity recovered and officially returned to Afghanistan

Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Kabul assisted in the return of a late 19th century historic "jezail" rifle ammunition speed loader to the people of Afghanistan during a ceremony held June 2, at the Ministry of Information and Culture Rose Garden.

Afghanistan Minister for Information and Culture Dr. Sayed Makhdoom Raheen hosted the ceremony, which was attended by international coalition representatives, HSI special agent John Balkovatz and members of the press.

The discovery and return of the missing ammunition speed loader was the result of a joint investigative effort. HSI Kabul, the International Security Assistance Force’s Task Force Shafafiyat and Outreach for Ministry of Information and Cultural & Civil Society, the Afghanistan Ministry of Interior, and the Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit assisted in the investigation.

In February of this year, the International Security Assistance Force’s Intelligence Directorate asked HSI Kabul to help recover the ammunition speed loader, which had disappeared from the Kabul National Museum in the years after the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan.

In response, HSI Kabul provided investigative and technical assistance through Afghanistan’s Ministry of Interior, its Criminal Investigations Department, and its Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit, which is mentored by HSI Kabul. The Afghan Transnational Criminal Investigative Unit assisted in the recovery, safeguard, forensic examination and investigative findings of the rifle.

The jezail, or camel gun, was popular among the native people of North Africa, as well as across Egypt, South East Asia, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

Due to conflicts in the 1980’s and 1990’s, Afghanistan is suffering from the slow removal of its cultural heritage by looters, smugglers and black-market traffickers. In 2005, Afghanistan ratified the 1970 Convention on the means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property.