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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kabul, UNESCO agree not to reconstruct Bamiyan Buddha statues

Mar 10, 2011, 17:13 GMT

New York - The Afghan government and the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization have agreed that the Buddha figures in Bamiyan blown up by Taliban 10 years ago this month will not be reconstructed, a UNESCO official said Thursday.

The two 1500-year-old statues, which measured 38 and 55 metres and were carved into a solid rock cliff face in the Bamiyan province, were reduced on March 12, 2001, to dust, and the small fragments that would make it impossible to reconstruct, Francesco Bandarin said in New York.

Bandarin, UNESCO's assistant director-general for culture, said little was left of the two statues after they were blown up with tons of explosives.

'Only 7 per cent of the larger statue remained and the rest was reduced to dust and rocks,' Bandarin said. 'The reconstruction is not possible. We are not doing it.'

He said the decision not to reconstruct the statues was taken last week in Paris, where UNESCO maintains its world headquarters, by his organization and representatives of the Kabul government after a study was carried out at the Bamiyan site.

Archeologists and rock experts have been doing work to protect and preserve the site, Bandarin said. The two solid rock niches that housed the statues are still standing, but they are empty.


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