- Powell assails Taliban's act
WASHINGTON (March 8): Secretary of State Colin Powell has deplored
the Taliban leadership for committing a crime against humanity by ordering the destruction
of ancient statues in Afghanistan, including the two giant Buddhas. ``It's horrible, it's
a tragedy, it's a crime against humankind, and I deplore it," he said, adding he was
trying to find out whether the Buddha statues build 2,000 years ago were completely
``I don't know the extent of damage at this time. I simply haven't been
briefed in the course of the morning because I've been in other meetings, and so I don't
know whether the two major Buddhas have now been taken down totally," he told the
media Tuesday. "So we'll get the information out to you (newsmen) as soon as we
Meanwhile, Taliban's Ambassador to Pakistan Abdul Salam Zaeef said in
Islamabad that parts of the massive statues -- the larger of the two believed to be the
world's tallest standing Buddha -- had been destroyed and demolition would resume after
Eid. ``We don't know how long it will take to destroy them, but they will be
eliminated," Zaeef was reported as saying. The destruction of the statues was order
by Taliban Mullah Mohammed Omar as part of the destruction of all pre-Islamic statues in
the country, including the two towering Buddhas hewn from a cliff face in Bamiyan near the
Afghan Capital Kabul.
"I am being told from Kabul that they are using mainly explosives
because the statues are very strong,. We do not want to spend more money or resources to
destroy them. That's why we are using explosives," Zaeef said.
He said the troops had demolished 25 percent of the two Buddhas.
Taliban's Information and Culture Minister Qatradullah Jamal had said earlier the legs and
feet had already been destroyed.