Foreign Ministry spokesman Ahror Burkhanov commented on media reports about destruction of the monument to the famous Uzbek poet Alisher Navoi in Afghanistan.
Judging by the photographs that surfaced in the media and social networks, there is now a white wall in place of the bas-relief with the statue of Alisher Navoi in Mazar-i-Sharif. Also, there is a photo showing a fragment of a graffiti-style portrait of the poet. Some reports indicate that the destruction of the monument had taken place on the eve of the poet's birthday, which is celebrated on February 9, and that the Taliban have previously removed murals of historical figures and graffiti throughout the country.
“We received with regret the news about the damage to the bas-relief and graffiti of Alisher Navoi in Afghanistan,” Akhror Burkhanov said.
Official of the Uzbek Foreign Ministry said that the foreign ministry contacted the Afghan authorities on this issue, which assured that "this act of vandalism in no way reflected the policy course of the government, which advocates for stronger ties with fraternal Uzbekistan."
The Afghan authorities, according to Akhror Burkhanov, stated that this incident "is an unauthorized and thoughtless action by unknown persons and damages our common historical and cultural heritage."
“The government of Afghanistan will take measures to restore the monuments and ensure respect for the common heritage,” Ahror Burkhanov concluded.