The Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan started its work in the summer of 1956, as part of the activities of the Italian Institute for the Middle and Far East (IsMEO, then IsIAO), with a visit to Ghazni by Giuseppe Tucci and Alessio Bombaci. The following summer two excavations were opened, which revealed two Islamic sites: a Ghaznavid palace (end of the 11th - early 12th century) and a private residence (end of the 12th - early 13th century). In 1959 the excavation of the Buddhist sanctuary of Tapa Sardar began.
Surveys in the town and in the province of Ghazni and conservation works were also carried on. The artefacts (partly excavated, partly recovered) were conserved and exhibited: in 1966 the Italian Archaeological Mission and the Afghan government opened the Islamic Museum in Rawza (a historic village 5 km north-east of the Ghazni citadel); in 1976 construction began on the Archaeological Museum that was meant to host the materials from Tapa Sardar. The activities of the Mission continued every year from 1956 until the autumn of 1978 and were interrupted by the Soviet invasion of 1979. The Rawza Islamic Museum remained open until 1979, while the construction of the Archaeological Museum was never completed.
Researches were also conducted in the following sites: Foladi valley (1957), Hazar Sum (1961, 1962), Darra-i Kalon (1962), Kabul (Babur’s garden, 1966), Qarabagh and Mukur (1969), Homay Qal‘a (1974), Jaghatu of Ghazni and Jaghatu of Wardak (1975, 1976), Qarabagh and Jaghuri (Nai Qal‘a, Homay Qal‘a, Tapa Senaubar, Shah Khwaja, Sangdara, Sar, Bayak, Lalakhil, 1975, 1976), Woleswali of Nawa (Ab-e Estada in Katawaz, 1976), Red Tepe city (1976), Olaitu valley (Gaza Babra Kamal, Tepe Zaytun 1976), and the minaret of Jam.
For a detailed summary of the activities up to 1978, see the Chart of the activities of the Italian Archaeological Mission in Afghanistan
In 2002, the Italian Archaeological Mission resumed its activities in Afghanistan, mainly with the assessment of the archaeological sites and of the collections, which are housed in the facilities of the National Museums of Afghanistan. From 2002 to 2006 the Italian Mission led a wide check on finds, verifying their state of preservation, securing their condition, and recording their inventory numbers.
For the state of preservation of some artefacts stored in Kabul National Museum see the Report
In 2013 the Mission has contributed to the constitution of the new Islamic Museum of Ghazni, opened in April of the same year and largely destroyed in bomb attacks against the governor's compound on the 4th of September of 2014.