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PESHAWAR, Oct 19: Afghan nationals have protected their culture well despite years of fighting and difficult socioeconomic crisis, Parveen Malal, cultural attaché at the Afghan consulate general in Peshawar, said on Wednesday.

At the concluding ceremony of the three-day Afghan Cultural and Industrial Exhibition at Nishtar Hall here, Ms Malal said the people of Afghanistan wanted to give a message to the world that they were civilised people and loved peace.

She said Afghan handicrafts were available on the local market but the exhibition was organised to highlight the rich culture of Afghanistan and tell the world through the media that Afghan nationals loved peace and wanted to lead peaceful lives in their own country.

The cultural attaché said the Afghan culture was alive even after so many wars and destruction only because the locals were strong and were in love with it.

Mastoora Stanakzai, head of an Afghan school, said she participated in the event to exhibit Afghan handicrafts, which kept the war-ravaged country's arts and culture in tact despite troubles.

“War forced us to leave homes but we took our crafts with us and imparted skills to children. In this manner, we kept our arts and crafts alive up to this day. This exhibition clearly shows that we, the Afghans, have not forgotten our culture,” she said.

Amina, a 16-year-old Afghan girl, who was born in Peshawar, said the exhibition shed light on how the Afghan culture had been preserved and developed, adding that though she was born away from Afghanistan but still knew her culture and identity.

“In weddings and other occasions, Afghan girls wear traditional dresses and jewellery. This indicates that the Afghan culture is alive despite difficult times,” the girl said.

She further said Afghanistan might have been ravaged by years of fighting but its culture was intact.

At the exhibition, Afghan hand-woven carpets, cultural dresses, jewellery, dry fruit, portraits, paintings, photographs highlighting Afghan life and culture were displayed, while a meeting of Afghan writers and poets was also held to discuss art and literature. Later in the evening, a cultural and musical show was organised to the delight of visitors.