KABUL, Dec. 8 (Xinhua) -- Afghan President Mohammad Ashraf Ghani on Thursday said that the government was determined to strengthen protection of cultural relics and historic sites in the country.
"The wars and conflicts have prevented the preservation of cultural relics over the past four decades. But there is an urgent need to focus on restoring historical sites and preservation of cultural heritage," Ghani told audience at a ceremony held at a palace under reconstruction here.
The ceremony marked launching of the third phase of the renovation of Dar-ul-Aman Palace which was severely damaged during 1990s civil war.
In 2012, the Afghan government started a campaign to raise funds to restore the three-story building, which is located in southwestern part of Kabul. The reconstruction work started in late May this year.
"The renovation of Dar-ul-Aman Palace, funded by the government resources, itself has an importance. This historic palace belongs to Afghans and it would be rebuilt by the Afghans," the Afghan leader said.
"Afghanistan is a great nation boasting a countless amount of cultural treasures but we should take proper measures to ensure that all sites with historical and archeological importance throughout the country should be preserved and maintained for the next generation," he said.
The reconstruction of Dar-ul-Aman Palace is expected to cost up to 16.5 million U.S. dollars and the rebuilding process is likely to be completed within four years.
Earlier on Thursday, Ghani also chaired a meeting of the High Urban Development Council held in Dar-ul-Aman Palace and ordered the related government agencies to step up efforts for development of the national capital Kabul city and other big cities.