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U.S. Returns Stolen Afghan Artifacts

The United States has returned to Afghanistan an ancient Roman wine pitcher and five gold artifacts that were stolen from the country.

In a ceremony at the Afghan Embassy in Washington on September 9, Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United States, Eklil Hakimi, accepted the objects from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency (ICE), the agency reported.

"These items are national treasures that form the country’s identity and distinguish Afghanistan from the rest of the world," Hakimi reportedly said.

U.S. customs officers seized the items at Newark airport in New Jersey in March 2011. Investigators discovered they were going to be delivered to a New York business suspected of dealing in looted cultural property.

U.S. customs officials said the handover marks America’s fourth official repatriation to Afghanistan of stolen cultural treasures since 2005.

Based on reporting by AFP and RFE/RL