During the initial phase of the UNESCO initiative begun in 2004, Univ. Prof. Klimburg-Salter and Susanne Novotny, then a Master’s student at the University of Vienna, were able to assist the museum in the initial documentation and inventory process. Each inventory team included, in addition to the foreign expert, several high-ranking Afghan officials and a young Kabul Museum curator. In 2005, Klimburg-Salter and Novotny participated in the re-inventory of the Hindu Kush collections (Klimburg-Salter 2006). UNESCO generously financed the first two University of Vienna missions, although Austria is not a member of the UNESCO Afghanistan Funds-in-Trust Program. With these limitations in mind, Masoudi and Klimburg-Salter designed a training program open to all curators but by necessity with a limited budget. None of the specialists—foreign or Afghan—received honoraria. The limited funds were meant to be directly applied to the training of the Afghan staff.
From 2005 to 2014, the University of Vienna Kabul Museum Project Capacity Building Program was generously supported by the Gerda Henkel Stiftung whose extraordinary flexibility and commitment continued to help the Capacity Building Program adapt to the evolving needs of the staff. The University of Vienna provided continuous training at the Kabul Museum, extending the scope to encompass computer literacy, exhibition design and management. Fortunately, this core University of Vienna Capacity Building Program could be augmented from 2007 by the Barakat Trust, Oxford, which provided intensive English language and computer training courses in the museum for all the staff. From the large number of staff members who began the program, eight curators demonstrated the necessary competence to go on to a more advanced level of curatorial training. The next phase of training held in Delhi, India, in 2008, with the support of the Gerda Henkel Stiftung and in collaboration with Jawaharlal Nehru University’s School of Arts and Aesthetics and the National Museum New Delhi. The capacity building program continued in Kabul, by this time emphasizing art history and numismatics. The Kabul Museum curators also traveled to the University of Vienna in 2010 and 2011, to attend training programs in cooperation with the Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien (KHM) Coins Collection emphasizing academic presentation, art history, archaeology, numismatics, database management, and museum studies as well as participation in several international conferences (New Delhi, 2008; Vienna, 2010, 2011). Finally, a joint workshop was held in Japan in 2013, co-financed with Kyoto University. Senior scholars from both Austria, Japan, and Afghanistan—including the Kabul Museum Director Dr. Masoudi—as well as members of the curatorial and conservation staff participated. At the same time, various governments continued with infrastructure projects to rebuild the museum structures and facilities at an impressive rate. (In 2012, the U.S. Embassy very generously financed the University of Chicago to implement a numerical inventory of the museum's collections. They also trained the Museology department to implement this digital inventory.) Unfortunately, in 2013, due to the ongoing violence and challenging political situation, many young people decided to flee the country with their families, including five of the curators trained by the first Vienna/GHS program.