03/18/2010 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Afghanistan: Thousands Of Stolen Artifacts Returned (PHOTOS)

About 2,000 stolen artifacts were returned to Afghanistan and unveiled at the National Museum in Kabul on Tuesday, the New York Times reports. The artifacts had been stolen over the years of war in Afghanistan and smuggled into Britain.

British authorities confiscated them, identified where they came from and sent them back to Afghanistan in February.

Some of the artifacts date back as far as the 11th century, the AP reports.

See a slideshow of the returned artifacts below.

Afghan artifacts

From the Times:

Afghanistan founded the museum in the 1920s, shortly after the country gained full control over its affairs from Britain. Situated at the crossroads of four great civilizations -- Chinese, Central Asian, Indian and Persian -- Afghanistan is a treasure trove for archaeologists.

By the time the Soviet Union invaded in 1979, the museum owned about 100,000 items. But when the pro-Moscow government collapsed in the early 1990s and civil war convulsed the country, artifacts began to disappear.

The artifacts have been put on display at the museum just as the nation marks the 8th anniversary of the war. See a retrospective slideshow on the conflict here.

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