Just as Lord Elgin did over two hundred years ago, other people today continue to take advantage of political situations around the world as a means to acquire artefacts that might not otherwise be available for purchase. Unlike in Elgin’s time though, there are now numerous laws & statutes in place that are supposed to prevent such actions taking place,
Press TV (Iran) 
Afghan manuscripts sold for a morsel
Fri, 11 Jul 2008 12:10:46
Keeping body and soul together, poor Afghan families put their priceless handwritten books under the hammer in the war torn country.
The manuscripts have bee taken to museums in Britain, France and Germany and the appeal to UNESCO to restore the books has failed so far, said Habib-ullah Takhari, the Afghan cultural attaché in Tehran.
Takhari said, “Large numbers of cultural heritage (items) were sneaked out of Afghanistan through Pakistan’s borders during the Taliban regime and turned up at the British Museum.”
Afghan people also hold manuscripts inside lockers under improper conditions, said the official, who deplored the inadequate information on the number of the books.
The manuscripts also have fallen victim to Taliban ideologies as the extremists at times reportedly purged libraries.
In 1997, the extremists came under fire by UNESCO for burning up to 55.000 rare manuscripts, mainly centered in Pulkhari, a tribal region bordering Pakistan in the northern Hindu Kush Mountains.
Some books, however, find a chance to find their way to Iranian cultural centers.
Vendors at times take their books to Iranian libraries for sale, said the director of the hand-written books department of the parliament, Abdulhossein Haeri.
Early oriental manuscripts, including Persian books, began streaming into Europe in the second half of the 17th century.
The incessant outflow continued ever since and has sped up over the past years.
The first Persian manuscripts found a conduit in 1660 to the French royal library, where a century later their numbers have considerably increased to 2000 copies.