Friday, March 25, 2011

Afghanistan’s historic 1,500 year old Bamiyan Buddhas, destroyed by the Taliban 10 years ago will not be reconstructed

Afghanistan’s historic Bamiyan Buddhas, destroyed by the Taliban 10 years ago, will not be reconstructed despite claims the 1,500-year-old statues could be repaired, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) has said.The decision follows a two-day meeting of scientists, Afghan officials and donors in Paris recently.While the expert panel was split on the possibility of reconstruction, UNESCO has told the Afghan government it does not support a rebuild project, citing concerns over funding priorities and authenticity.

The Bamiyan Buddhas, dating from the sixth century, were bombed in 2001 as part of the Taliban’s campaign to rid Afghanistan of pre-Islamic structures. While acknowledging there was desire to see the Buddhas rebuilt, UNESCO believes priority should now be placed on preserving the wider Bamiyan Valley, a World Heritage-listed site containing treasured Buddhist art and monastic caves dating to the first century.

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