Afghanistan is a country which has housed civilisations and monuments which date thousands of years; unfortunately, the tragedies and violence that has befallen the country has often led to those historical wonders being destroyed, neglected or left to wither away. We saw this eighteen years ago when the Taliban blew up the two giant Buddhas in the Bamiyan province, in a traumatic event which was condemned worldwide, and we saw this last week when locals in Afghanistan reported that an ancient tower dating back 2,000 years in the historic Afghan city of Ghazni has collapsed.

The tower which collapsed was originally part of 36 towers which made up an old citadel known as Ghaznain Fort. Whereas once the Fort might have stood tall and grand, now war, rain and heavy neglect by an ever-tumultuous government have led most of the towers of the fort to collapse.

The fort, as well as the many other historical sites which reside in Afghanistan, reflect what happens when these monuments are not given proper care and protection. Afghanistan, with its rich history, is home to many such monuments, ranging from the pre-Islamic Buddhist centre in the Bamyan valley to the 12th-century minaret of Jam in a remote area of Ghor province – yet all these wonderful slices of history are in danger of being wiped away in the twenty-first century.

The unfortunate fall of the tower should be a lesson to us in the south of the importance of preservation and rehabilitation of historical sites. Pakistan too has been blessed with many gifts from history, and it is only recently that the government has put in funds for preserving architectural gems like Masjid Wazir Khan. Yet still ancient sites like Mohenjo Daro and Harappa, which should be a magnet for archaeologists and history lovers, have not been properly preserved and developed by our government. Unlike Afghanistan, we do not even have the excuse of war to explain why we have not preserved our history.