Posted by: Editor | June 15, 2009

Buddhas of Bamyan–Series 4

The giant Buddhas of Bamyan, representing Budhist history of Hazaras, stood for centuries.

The giant Buddhas of Bamyan, representing Budhist history of Hazaras, stood for centuries.

Bamyan Series

Bamyan Series-1

Bamyan Series-2

Bamyan Series-3

The largest Buddha statues in the world known as Bamyan Buddhas once stood on the cliffs of Bamyan Valley before they were destroyed by Taliban on March 11 2001. This day is observed as Black Day by the Hazaras, who once followed Buddhism before the rise of Islam in this region. Despite international appeals, Taliban Shura led by one-eyed Mullah Omer ordered destruction of the Buddhas on 26 February 2001. When the news spread to the world, Kufi Anan, the then General Secretary of United Nations sent his special envoy in Kabul and Kandahar to persuade Taliban not to destroy the centuries old treasure. Head of UNESCO asked the Organization of Islamic Countries to pressurize Taliban. OIC members including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates—states that officially recognized the rule of Taliban—demanded for protection of Bamyan Buddhas, but all in vain. Director of the Metropolitan Museum New York asked Taliban leadership to sell the giant historic Buddhas to western museums. Large protest rallies were organized by the adherents of Buddhism in several cities of the world. But the forces of evil—Taliban—didn’t hear. On March 09 after offering Friday Prayers, they started planting bombs inside Buddha statues. Some local Hazaras were arrested, tied with bombs in their back and lowered from the top roof of the statues to plant explosive material in the holes of statues. Later all of them were killed or slaughtered. While talking to HTimes, a survivor who had taken part in plantation of explosive materials said, “those who rejected to plant bombs in the Buddhas, were shot dead at the spot. At the beginning some persons rejected, when saw their fate, we trembled and reluctantly went up to dynamite….”. He (anonymity on request) further said destroying completely after a week of explosions, Taliban slaughtered 50 cows in celebration.

Taliban deemed the giant Buddhas as non-Islamic, but the real story behind the decision was more political than religious. Taliban wanted revenge from the international community for the sanctions and not recognizing their (Taliban) Government, says Waheed Muzhda, who served in Foreign Ministry of Taliban.

Taliban were aimed at removing the history and identity of Hazara, believes majority Hazara residents of Bamyan saying the Buddhas stood there since centuries and represented the Buddhist history of Hazaras. Local people say other than Taliban, the tyrant dictator Abdul Rehman Khan—1892—also attempted to destroy the statues and damaged some parts of it.

Govt. says Buddhas of Bamyan will never be reconstructed.

Govt. says Buddhas of Bamyan will never be reconstructed.

Reconstruction of the Buddhas?

In 2002, after the ouster of Taliban, UNESCO talked about reconstruction of the destroyed statues. Many countries including Japan, China and Thailand offered to build it. Today, after eight years of Taliban ouster, there has been no progress in reconstruction of the ruined Buddhas. In 2002, the then Transitional Government in Kabul announced plans of reconstruction. UNESCO started working on clearing the cave-dwellers, but later the Ministry of Information and Culture opposed reconstruction plans saying it would lose the historic value and Taliban brutality will be removed. Officials say the huge fund needed for reconstruction could be used for poverty in the province. Since then the plans are pending. Two years ago, hundreds of people in Bamyan had signed a petition demanding the Government to rebuild the Buddhas. Governor Sarabi, too, supports the idea. She says, at least one of the statues be built. It will bring international tourists to improve the economy of the province. A couple of months ago the Ministry of Information and Culture in Kabul said, “Bamyan Buddhas will never be built again.”


  1. Thanks for providing this great information!

    I usually tell everyone Hazaras used to be Buddhism before the rise of Islam, Some gets very great shock! But believes it as we have the Buddha as our logical prove!
    Not only Taliban but some mores did thousands of dirty tortures to us, But I always wish that atleast they should have not destroyed our history! 😦

  2. […] Bamyan Series 4 —                      Bamyan Series 5 […]

  3. Salam Dostan

    We the people of Afghanistan especially Hazara should be very proud to had this great civilisation which uniqe simillar to Egyptian Phyramid and Rome and Greek or China and India.

    We should work to reestablish our treasurey and show it to the region and world yes we were civilised and we will establish another one as we did it before. We should not limit ourselve to just readig or writing commets. Each one of us have responsibility to acheive our target.

    Bamyan must establish again through the help of Hazaras all around the world starting from inside the country,people from Quetta,Karachi,Iran and all around the world by encouraging International Communities .Because this great civilisation belong to us and we must establish it again if we leave it to the others then the only thing they can is destraction!!

    Hazara should work and preserve their cultural heritage regardless of the location where they leave. Thinking about empty slogans of Mulla from Iran or ISI of Pakistan will never bring fortne for us nor it could bring in the past other than disasters and misery.

    Long live Hazara civilisation

    Ahmad Australia

  4. Qauma !


    I was the among some first to demand that at least one of giant Buddha should be reconstructed. In this connection I wrote a research article too, arguing that many destroyed historic monuments have been reconstructed in recent past. Construction of ancient bridge in Bosnia by turkish experts is one of them.
    Unfortunately our Hazara representatives in parlimant and Senate also didn,t take interest in this regard due to some reasons. Let hope for new coming elected parlimants.

    Ishaq Mohammadi.

  5. if you want more information about buddha distruction i can give you enough information be cuase i am a tour guide from bamyan(hamid mohammadi bamyan)

    • I was so impressed with Bamiyan that later this year we hope to fly tourists to bamiyan on a regular basis bringing much needed revenue to the area

    • I will be needing a guide contact me

  6. Not only the Giant Buddha but also the culture should also be restored and cultivated to lead people towards spirituality.

  7. Most of the people responding to this thread sound like they would like to abandon Islam and re embrace their Buddhist roots, go right ahead and worship a statue.

    I’m not for the destruction of the Bamiyan Buddha’s, but at the same time I was not saddened when they were destroyed.

    The Hazara people who claim that Afghans abuse them need to recall their own bloody history which spanned the entire Asian continent into Europe. You need to remember the massacres in Kabul at your hands, no children or women were spared.

    You are Mongolians, you have one of the most savage and bloody histories of all people, you are welcome in Afghanistan but nobody has forced you to stay.

    If you are not happy, by all means go back to Mongolia and build some Buddha statues. I’m sure people will be fascinated by them 1000 years from now.

    • The reconstruction of Buddhas of Bamiyan does not mean to abandon Islam. After the Islam the Buddhas shoes our civilization and History for such people like you to show that Hazaras are the indigenous people of Afghanistan then what you mean go back to Mongolia. Such resist people like you Mzai destroy the History of Hazara.

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