The United States and the U.S. Department of Defense treat seriously the preservation of the world’s cultural heritage, including those areas where the military operates overseas.
To that end, the United States has enacted and enforces both military and non-military laws that aim to preserve historic structures, monuments, archaeological sites, and repositories of cultural objects (including museums, archives and libraries).
Of specific relevance to all participants in Afghanistan, the U.S. military has issued General Order 1A, which includes the following provision:
General Order 1A, sections 2(g) and 2(k)— PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES:
"2(g) Removing, possessing, selling, defacing or destroying archeological artifacts or national treasures.
2(k) Taking or retaining individual souvenirs or trophies."
The latter provision “does not preclude the lawful acquisition of souvenirs that can be legally imported into the United States” (Section 2 (k)(4)).
Failure to obey a General Order may subject you to an administrative hearing or court-martial, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, Title 10, § 892, Article 92.
Additional provisions of General Order 1A, as well as a summary of s Afghan Law, and relevant U.S. law and international law that protect specific types of cultural property in different circumstances, and other relevant statutes are all discussed in this section. The types of inspection that you are likely to encounter while in theater and upon returning to the U.S. is also described.
The United States also follows several international conventions that are intended to help preserve this cultural heritage. All uniformed personnel should become familiar with these treaties and conventions, which the Department of Defence does honor in all of its operations.
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