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Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Bifångst means bycatch. Please, don't ask why I need to know this word.

The picture is from the Science article referenced below.

I think it is crazy to let China's greed for natural resources be used as an excuse to destroy the ancient Mes Aynak Temple. Mes Aynak is a hill topped by a 4500-square-meter monastery. People die and the newspapers only publish propoganda, but it will remain in the scientific journals for ages. It is like selling Falun. Thank God the copper has run out there.

"There is a temple, stupas, beautiful rooms, big and small statues, two with the length of seven and nine meters, colourful frescos ornamented with gold and some coins," said Mohammad Nader Rasouli, head of the Afghan Archaeological Department.

"Some of the relics date back to the fifth century (AD). We have come across signs that there are items maybe going back to the era before Christ or prehistory," he said.

"We need foreign assistance to preserve these and their expertise to help us with further excavations."

Posted on Sunday, March 8, 2009: JALREZ VALLEY, Afghanistan — In this Taliban stronghold in the mountains south of Kabul, the U.S. Army is providing the security that will enable China to exploit one of the world's largest unexploited deposits of copper, earn tens of billions of dollars and feed its voracious appetite for raw materials.

U.S. troops set up bases last month along a dirt track that a Chinese firm is paving as part of a $3 billion project to gain access to the Aynak copper reserves. Some troops made camp outside a compound built for the Chinese road crews, who are about to return from winter break. American forces also have expanded their presence in neighboring Logar province, where the Aynak deposit is.

There may be some cause for concern.

A January 2008 report by Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a European research group, said that MCC extracted more copper than expected from a mine in Sandaik, Pakistan, but that the project has "had virtually no spillover effect on the local economy to date."

The report also warned of the potential for an "environmental and social disaster" if Aynak isn't properly managed, noting that the area is home to some 90,000 people and a source of Kabul's water supply.

Read more:

Read more:

Science 30 July 2010:
Vol. 329. no. 5991, pp. 496 - 497
DOI: 10.1126/science.329.5991.496

Copper Mine Threatens Ancient Monastery in Afghanistan
Andrew Lawler
A decade after the Taliban destroyed the famous Bamiyan Buddhas—two massive statues that have stood sentry in an Afghan valley for 1500 years—archaeologists are warning that Afghan antiquities are again at risk. This time the threat comes from a venture blessed by the Western-backed Afghan government. A Chinese company intends to blow up an ancient Buddhist monastery south of Kabul to make way for a massive copper mine. The plan has sparked outrage among Afghan and French archaeologists, who have recently uncovered more than 100 statues within a large religious complex that includes seven stupas, or tombs built to house the relics of saints.

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