Taliban takeover sparks fear for Afghanistan’s heritage

Taliban takeover sparks fear for Afghanistan’s heritage

Bamiyan’s cultural centre should have been completed last month, showcasing the remarkable heritage of a site that Afghanistan’s Taliban desecrated two decades ago by dynamiting ancient statues of Buddha. But the red carpet celebrations will have to wait. After the Taliban swept triumphantly into the capital Kabul, everything was put on hold. “Everything is suspended,” said Philippe Delanghe, from UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, who said they are awaiting the decisions of the new regime. Afghanistan once stood on the legendary Silk Road trade route, a crossroads of ancient civilisations. Now in the hands of the hardline Islamist Taliban, there are fears its heritage is at risk. In March 2001, the Taliban spent weeks using dynamite and artillery to blow up two giant 1,500-year old statues of Buddha, carved into a cliff at Bamiyan, some 175 kilometres (78 miles) west of Kabul. Many
Bamiyan’s cultural centre should have been completed last month, showcasing the remarkable heritage of a site that Afghanistan’s Taliban desecrated two decades ago by dynamiting ancient statues of Buddha. But the red carpet celebrations will have to wait. After the Taliban swept triumphantly into the capital Kabul, everything was put on hold. “Everything is suspended,” said Philippe Delanghe, from UNESCO, the UN’s cultural agency, who said they are awaiting the decisions of the new regime. Afghanistan once stood on the legendary Silk Road trade route, a crossroads of ancient civilisations. Now in the hands of the hardline Islamist Taliban, there are fears its heritage is at risk. In March 2001, the Taliban spent weeks using dynamite and artillery to blow up two giant 1,500-year old statues of Buddha, carved into a cliff at Bamiyan, some 175 kilometres (78 miles) west of Kabul. Many