Every piece of antiquity that is restored to the halls of the bombed, pillaged and now rebuilt National Museum of Afghanistan sends a message of defiance and resilience.

These are messages to the Taliban, who in 2001 smashed every museum artifact that they could find that bore a human or animal likeness. But these are messages for others as well: to the warlords who looted the museum, some of whom are still in positions of power in Afghanistan; to corrupt custodians of the past who stood by while some 70,000 objects walked out the door.

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