In Bamiyan, Afghanistan, the city’s famous Buddhas have been blown up by the Taliban in the past. A national treasure shattered, that the current Taliban seem to regret.
In the Bamiyan Valley, Afghanistan, the hollows in the cliffs are empty. Previously filled with statues of Buddhas giants of the fifth century, they are now gaping. A destruction of a national and archaeological treasure caused by the Taliban in 2001. Almost 20 years later, the Taliban are back in power, but say the treasures of Bamiyan will not be in danger. “Compared to what we have seen in our books, there is nothing left, but that’s good”, testifies one of the combatants. The entrance to the site is controlled by the militia, which makes the few foreigners and Afghans pay a visit.
The world remembers the acts perpetrated against the huge statues of Buddhas in the past. But what is surprising is that the Taliban now want to preserve the Bamiyan and the architecture that is present there. Some Taliban even want to revive restoration and reconstruction projects. “My dream is that tourists come back here to be able to visit”, Explain from Mohamad, responsible for the Buddhas website. “The new power sends a clear message to the international community: henceforth, they will preserve the archaeological heritage “, adds Dorothy Olliéric, special correspondent to Bamiyan.
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