15th anniversary of Buddha statues destruction marked in Bamyan
The two 6th-century standing Buddhas carved into the side of a cliff were dynamited by the Taliban towards the fag-end of their rule in March 2001. Built centuries ago, the statues represented the classic blended style of Gandhara art.
In response to the global fraternity’s ringing denunciation, the Taliban said the statues had been destroyed to protest international aid exclusively reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine.
The large statue was 55 metres high and the small one 33 metres high. Ahmad Hussain Ahmadpoor, spokesman for the Information and Culture Department, told Pajhwok Afghan News the destruction of Buddha statues was a big loss for Afghanistan’s culture and history.
Hectic efforts had since been made for the reconstruction of the rare statues, but satisfactory results were yet to be achieved, he said. “The tourism industry would significantly improve in Bamyan even if one of the statues is rehabilitates.”
Ahmadpoor said Bamyan’s culturists had regularly been marking the anniversary of Taliban’s iconoclastic move. But no one had bothered heeding calls for rebuilding the statues, the spokesman regretted.
Mohammad Hussain Anwari, a Bamyan-based cultural activist, slammed the destruction of the Buddhas a betrayal of Afghans. He accused the Taliban of following directions from Pakistan to damage Afghanistan’s tourism industry.
He asked the international community, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the Afghan government to work for the reconstruction of the statues on a priority basis.
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