May 18, 2021


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Afghans commemorate destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas 20 years ago

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Afghanistan taliban
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carved out of the rock by buddhist monks more than a thousand years ago these caves in bamiyan national park arenow home to some of afghanistan’s poorest people.

The government says they’re squatters but those living like this say they have nowhere else to go muhammad makes his living collecting scrap metal but it’s barely enough to feed his family only once a day

there are no jobs we don’t have any other place and i don’t have the means to build a house

i want the government to provide us with shelter daily life is grim there are no toilets burning wood for heat makes it difficult to breathe and insects are ever present as is the fear the taliban might come back the taliban is a problem for us there is fighting 24 hours a day and people are in trouble they’re not safe and there’s no security her worries are valid these communities live near the site of the bamiyan buddhas giant stone carvings from afghanistan’s rich pre-islamic past

In 2001 six months before 9 11 the taliban declared the statues an affront to islam and drew a line in the sand for the whole world to see muhammad the statues of the buddha that once stood at this site in bamiyan were an estimated 15 centuries old and they weren’t just a part of afghanistan’s history they were a part of human history many officials here in afghanistan say that their destruction at the hands of the taliban is also a part of history now and that they are best left in the past broken pieces of the buddhas still sit under lock and key with little hope of rebuilding but 20 years later a 3d projection helps afghans see the statues as they once were there afghanistan the demand of the afghan people must be included in peace talks such a mistake and crime should never be repeated again any group that lives here should accept that these cultural and historical artifacts belong to the people history and culture of afghanistan when the sun comes up the lights go down and the buddhas disappear once again leaving only vacant holes a grim reminder of the kind of violence afghan’s fear could happen again if the taliban come back zain basravi.

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