Afghan archaeologists find Buddhist site as war rages
Archaeologists in Afghanistan, where Taliban Islamists are fighting the Western-backed government, have uncovered Buddhist-era remains in an area south of Kabul, an official said on Tuesday. “There is a temple, stupas, beautiful rooms, big and small statues, two with the length of seven and nine meters, colorful frescos ornamented with gold and some coins,” said Mohammad Nader Rasouli, head of the Afghan Archaeological Department.
(Photo: 1997 file photo of a 55-metre-high Buddha statue in Bamyan destroyed by the Taliban in 2001/Muzammil Pasha)
“Some of the relics date back to the fifth century (AD). We have come across signs that there are items maybe going back to the era before Christ or prehistory,” he said. “We need foreign assistance to preserve these and their expertise to help us with further excavations.”
Government and foreign troops are battling an insurgency led by the radical Taliban movement which destroyed Buddhist statues at Bamyan during its five-year control of the mountainous country from 1996 to 2001, viewing the monuments as an affront to Islam.