10 Years Without the Bamiyan Buddhas

Posted on March 1, 2011


Ten years ago, the Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban while the world watched.  These enormous statues had survived 1,500 years only to be blasted by dynamite.  When the face on one of the buddhas stubbornly clung to the cliffside despite the blasts, the Taliban shot it off with rockets.

The international community begged for the Taliban to not destroy the statues.  Other countries volunteered to care for the giant sculptures.  The pleas went unanswered.  One month after an announcement that they would be destroyed, they were.

It is said that the destruction was not only about “false idols” in the Islam faith (after all, they’d survived many centuries in this region), but instead was a response to the international community’s refusal to recognize the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan.  There were also economic sanctions that had been imposed which were disfavored.

Noting the 10 year anniversary of the destruction, the following article revisits where we’ve come from, and where we’re going: Ten years on – remembering the tragic destruction of the giant Buddha statues of Bamiyan.