Afghanistan: ISAF troops destroy Buddhist artifacts?
Brendan J. Cassar, chief of UNESCO's cultural program in Afghanistan, has—for the moment—backed denials by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) denial that their soldiers damaged remains of the Bamiyan Buddha statues (destroyed by the Taliban seven years ago) by setting off charges in the area. Najibullah Harar, chief of information and culture for Bamiyan, said the blast conducted near the smaller of the two statues on May 1 had caused cracks in what is left of the 114 foot-high ancient structure and its side walls. (New Zealand Herald, May 5; AP, May 4)
Given that stabilization of the mountain's rockface—which was severely weakened by the Taliban's blasts—has been a major obstacle for the restoration effort (CBC, April 23, 2007), one wonders why the Kiwis were blowing stuff up in the vicinity at all...
See our last post on Afghanistan.