A stone Buddha statue is displayed at the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul. Reuters

Hundreds of historical relics looted from Afghanistan were recently returned during a ceremony at the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul.

A total of 843 pieces were returned. Among the pieces are stone Buddha statues and ivory carvings, some of them as many as 4,000 years old.

Most of them had been stolen from the National Museum during the country's civil war in the 1990s and had subsequently been sold on the black market. More than two-thirds of the museum's exhibits are believed to have been either destroyed or looted during that period.

The British Museum played a large role in the return of the artifacts. Some were recovered by British armed forces, while others were recovered from private collections.

The British Ministry of Defense flew the items back to Afghanistan, where they landed at the Camp Bastion military base, according to BBC News.

Afghan archaeologists hailed the return of the items as a source of deep national pride despite concerns about the future stability of the country following the anticipated withdrawal of all American troops by the end of 2014, which could result in renewed sectarian violence and the destruction of more artifacts.