Tuesday, September 21, 2021

State Department Adds Afghanistan to Oct. 5, 2021 Agenda-Any Comments due on September 26, 2021!

Incredibly, the State Department now has agreed to entertain a request supposedly from the former Government of Afghanistan that would by necessity have to be negotiated with the new Taliban regime.

The State Department has amended its notice for a Cultural Property Advisory Committee Meeting for October 5, 2021 for CPAC to also address a request for import restrictions supposedly made by the "former government of Afghanistan."  Applicable Federal Register notices can be found here:  


and https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2021/09/21/2021-20341/notice-of-receipt-of-request-from-the-former-government-of-the-islamic-republic-of-afghanistan-under

 Comments made before the September 26th deadline may be made here:


or here:https://www.regulations.gov/document/DOS-2021-0032-0001

Afghan specific comments should be marked as such.

As a threshold matter, CPO questions the legality of the State Department Cultural Heritage Center negotiating with a government that includes globally designated terrorists, including Sirrajudin Haqqani, Afghanistan's new interior minister. There is a push by Congress to designate the Taliban as a foreign terrorist organization.  Should that happen, it would be explicitly illegal to negotiate with them on cultural heritage.

 Additionally, such a proposal raises serious concerns on its merits given the Taliban’s history of intentionally destroying pre-Islamic cultural heritage, which will not be properly vetted because the public is only being given until Sunday, September 26th to comment.

Please comment before the close. Individual comments are best, but here are model comments for coin collectors:

RE Afghanistan

I am a collector of ancient coins who is very concerned that CPAC will entertain a request for import restrictions supposedly made on behalf of the former government of Afghanistan which by necessity will require the State Department to negotiate with the Taliban regime.  

This request should be denied given the Taliban's long history of destroying pre-Islamic cultural heritage.  Alternatively, no restrictions should be placed on coins which would allow that regime to claw back coins which have been out of Afghanistan for years if not centuries. Given their history, the Taliban are just as likely to resell or even melt such coins for their bullion value as they are to protect them.  

 Import restrictions assume types of items found on the designated list were found in a specific country for which import restrictions were granted.  However, that rarely holds true for ancient coins.  Afghan restrictions will assume all items made in ancient “Bactria” were found there.  However, ancient Bactria also included parts of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.   Moreover, coins from ancient Bactria circulated not only in Afghanistan but nearby Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Pakistan and India.  They have also been widely collected at least since the 19th century, but few have much provenance information attached to them because not required in the past.



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