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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 10:03 GMT 11:03 UK
Sculptor to rebuild Bamiyan Buddha
The site where the Buddha statues once stood
The reconstruction will take five years
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By the BBC's Kate Clark
reporting from Bamiyan

An Afghan sculptor is planning to reconstruct one of the giant statues of the Buddha destroyed last year by the Taleban in northern Afghanistan's Bamiyan province.

One of the Bamiyan statues before it was destroyed
The statues had stood for nearly 2000 years

The Taleban blew up the statues a year ago amid widespread international condemnation because they believed that they were un-Islamic idols.

The sculptor, Amanulah Haiderzad, has arrived in Bamiyan to launch his ambitious project.

Mr Haiderzad set up the Fine Arts Department at Kabul University in the 1960s, but has lived in exile for the last 20 years.

The rebuilding of one of the Buddhas is a huge task - a five year project - but one which Mr Haiderzad said the Afghan spirit was fully equal to.


The town of Bamiyan is dominated by the absence of the two Buddha statues.

The niches stand like empty tooth sockets in the cliffside overlooking the town.

From the high plateau on the other side of the valley, Mr Haiderzad, described his plans.

He wants to keep the smaller niche as it was - a monument to what he called barbarism - but to rebuild the larger statue.

Local people wanted it, he said.

They felt uncomfortable with the empty niches, and it would be good for the economy, bringing work and eventually tourists.

Mr Haiderzad is the first Afghan sculptor to be trained in the modern era - the first, he thinks, since the Buddha statues were first carved into the rockface at Bamiyan more than 1,300 years ago.

See also:

09 Apr 02 | South Asia
Karzai visits 'scorched' Bamiyan
01 Mar 02 | South Asia
'Nothing remains' of Bamiyan Buddhas
30 Jan 02 | South Asia
Plans to rebuild Bamiyan Buddhas
13 Nov 01 | South Asia
Bamiyan destroyed by Taleban
12 Mar 01 | South Asia
Outcry as Buddhas are destroyed
02 Mar 01 | South Asia
UN warns Taleban over Buddha statues
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