Library of Congress gives Afghan President Hamid Karzai set of digitized cultural treasures

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The Library of Congress is using a $2 million gift to digitize cultural treasures and records from Afghanistan to give to that country's libraries and universities.

The gift was announced Friday at the U.S. State Department in a ceremony with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. A grant from the Carnegie Corporation of New York will fund the project.

Holdings at the Library of Congress relating to Afghanistan's history and culture are being digitized for the World Digital Library and to provide copies to Afghan institutions. A collection presented Friday includes manuscripts, rare books, maps and photographs.

Library officials say thousands of items about Afghanistan will eventually be digitized. Officials say it's an example of "virtual repatriation" and a way to preserve and share Afghanistan's history.