Under the terms of the Law on the Protection of Historical and Cultural Properties (2004) and the previous Code for the Protection of Antiquities in Afghanistan (1958),
all antiquities ... [defined as all artistic relics and monuments, moveable or
immoveable, dating prior to 1748, including all articles of
historic or prehistoric value and any natural objects
modified by human agency before the above date]
that are known or concealed, including those in private possession, are the property of the State and must be registered on an official inventory.
All exportation of antiquities, including temporary exportation, is forbidden without a permit. Only privately-owned, registered antiquities may be sold or exported. Traffic in unregistered antiquities is forbidden. Sale of immoveable antiquities may take place only under auspices of the State.
The State maintains the right to expropriate any antiquity for the purposes of care or collection, and retains all rights to replication, photographing and publication of any antiquity. Penalties for infractions of the 2004 law include fine, imprisonment, and confiscation of all objects involved as outlined in Chapter 8.
At all times, U.S. service personnel or contactors are subject to Law on the Protection of Historical and Cultural Properties (2004) while on Afghan soil.
This Afghan law may also be invoked by a federal prosecutor in the United States in support of a charge under the National Stolen Property Act* in the event that antiquities or heritage material or Afghan origin are transported to the U.S.** Conviction under the National Stolen Property Act in the United States may subject those who possess or transport or transfer ownership or interest in the artifact in the United States to penalities including fine and imprisonment, and may result in criminal or civil forfeiture of the artifact in question.
* The National Stolen Property Act Title 18 U.S.C. §2315, makes it a crime to "receive , possess, . . . sell, or dispose of any goods, wares, or merchandise . . . of the value of $ 5,000 or more, . . . which have crossed a State or United States boundary after being stolen, unlawfully converted, or taken, knowing the same to have been stolen, unlawfully converted, or taken . . ."
** Under two federal court precedents — United States of America versus McClain 545 F.2d 988 (5 th Cir. 1977); 593 F.2d (5th Cir. 1979) and United State of America versus Frederick Schultz 333 F.2d 393 (2nd Circuit 2003), affirmed by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals — a federal prosecutor in the United States may invoke, and a federal court judge in the United States may apply a foreign government's antiquties law, such as Iraq's Law Number 55 for the purposes of establishing the rightful ownership of a smuggled smuggled artifact and seize the artifact under an order of forfeiture for eventual return to the source country.