Afghanistan’s archaeological treasures face a new threat

The Independent

Wooden Buddha from Mes Aynak

Few thought they would do it until they did, firing fusillade after fusillade into two giant statues of the Buddha that had weathered 1,500 turbulent years of conquest and chaos, but could not withstand the Taliban’s tanks. As shells and anti-aircraft rounds thudded into the sandstone giants, Afghans who eked out their lives in the shadow of the statues were aghast.

In the homesteads and caves dotting the Bamian valley floor, “everyone was talking about it,” recalls Mohammad Nazuk Mir Chakaree, now a 20-year-old graduate, from Bamian. “They were saying the Buddhas had done nothing wrong, they weren’t alive, they weren’t a disadvantage to the Taliban – so why were they destroyed?” Read the rest of this entry »