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Sunday, 30 December, 2001, 17:09 GMT
Giant Buddhas 'to be restored'
Bamiyan Buddha
The destruction of the Buddhas caused international outrage
By the BBC's Richard Miron in Kabul

The Afghan Government has said it plans to rebuild the historic giant statues of Buddha at Bamiyan destroyed by the Taleban.

The giant Buddhas were shelled by the old regime earlier this year which viewed them as an affront to Islam.

The destruction caused international outrage at the time.

The new Minister of Information and Culture, Raheen Makhdoom, said his government would like to rebuild the destroyed statues as soon as possible.

'Necessary reconstruction'

He said that while the rebuilt Buddhas would not be exactly what they once were, it was necessary to reconstruct them.

A Taleban soldiers stands near the destroyed Buddha
The rebuilt Buddhas would not be exactly the same

The two statues situated in the central Bamiyan region stood between 40 and 50 metres high and were over 1,500 years old when they were shelled by the Taleban earlier this year.

The UN's educational, scientific and cultural organisation (Unesco) described it at the time as a true act of cultural barbarism.

The minister also said that he would like to attract tourists back to his country but with minimal infrastructure and an uncertain security situation that may be some way off.

See also:

13 Nov 01 | South Asia
Bamiyan destroyed by Taleban
05 Oct 01 | Asia-Pacific
Buddha rises again
25 Mar 01 | South Asia
Sri Lanka to 'build' Bamiyan Buddhas
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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