Swiss documentary on Afghanistan: Pakistani, Saudi engineers helped destroy Buddhas
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: The Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan were destroyed by the Taliban with the help of Pakistani and Saudi engineers.
According to an account published here on Saturday, a local Afghan told the makers of a Swiss documentary on the giant statues which had stood there, carved in the side of a mountain for hundreds of years, had been destroyed by engineers from Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. The dynamiting of the statues took place in March 2001. Swiss documentary filmmaker Christian Frei, who has made several documentaries that have won praise at various international film festivals, shot ‘The Giant Buddhas’ in Afghanistan. The film is due to be shown at the National Gallery of Art in Washington on 26 March.
The Taliban went ahead with the destruction of the giant statues, revered for centuries, because they considered them “offensive to Islam”. They ignored appeals from around the world, including UNESCO and an appeal from the then Government of Pakistan, made, it would appear now, more “for the record” than any serious intent to stop the Islamist zealots from destroying what the rest of the world considered mankind’s heritage.