Ancient Stolen Buddha Statues Returned to Afghanistan After 17 Years in UK

By Katie Grant
The terracotta heads are believed to have been stolen by the Taliban (Photo: Met Police)
An “ancient and precious” collection of terracotta Buddha heads, believed to have been stolen by the Taliban and transported to the UK, are to be returned to Afghanistan 17 years after their discovery at Heathrow Airport. A Buddha sculpture and nine heads will be sent back to their “rightful home”, the National Museum of Afghanistan, following a “long and complex” investigation that was carried out by the Metropolitan Police’s art and antiques unit. In September 2002, customs officers intercepted two wooden crates at Heathrow Airport that had been flown over on a flight from Peshawar, Pakistan. Officials suspected the crates contained drugs but instead stuffed inside were the Buddha sculpture and nine heads. [More]