Locals back government efforts to preserve heritage sites in Herat - once a hub for a vibrant Jewish community.

This figure drastically reduced a century later, with historical records stating 3,300 Jews in Afghanistan in 1936, according to Sadr.

"These numbers slowly decreased, and it is not a happy history," Sadr points out, adding that their outward immigration was not an issue of recent history, but had been under way for centuries."

However, despite this, the Afghan Jews are fondly remembered by the Afghans. "They were a loved community and had a strong relation with the rest of the Afghans. Some still stay in touch," said Sakhi, who was hired by the Ministry of Culture to look after the sites.

The nearby Jewish cemetery is believed to still be privately owned by an Afghan Jewish family, who emigrated to France in the 1970s, and is looked after by locals.

Many Jews, like other Afghans, began to flee the country at the start of the Soviet invasion in 1979 and the last of families had left the country by the time the civil war started in the 1990s.


Sulieman remembers the vibrant past of Afghanistan, one that he was intimately familiar with.

"Years ago you could take a bus from London to Kathmandu that passed through Afghanistan. The people of Afghanistan are very nice, friendly and hospitable. Even today when I go there, I live with the locals, I have many friends in Afghanistan. It is a beautiful country," he says.

Sakhi is confident that Jews will return to their communities once peace is established in Afghanistan.