- France hopeful of getting Taliban to reverse decision
- Ranvir Nayar
PARIS (March 9): Even though days of continuous shelling by
anti-aircraft guns has already caused serious damage to the Buddha statues in various
parts of Afghanistan, France says it has not yet abandoned hope and is trying to get the
Taliban authorities to reverse their decision.
A special French envoy is keeping up his efforts to establish contacts
with Taliban authorities in Kabul in order to convince the Afghan militia to stop the
destruction of these statues that date back about 2,000 years.
Pierre Lafrance has already held meetings with the Taliban foreign
affairs Minister Wakil Ahmad Muttawakil and delivered the message of Koichiro Maatsura,
the director general of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural
Organisation (UNESCO), according to official sources here.
"He is now trying to meet other leaders in Kabul in order to bring
about a change of heart regarding the destruction of the statues," an official of the
French foreign affairs ministry said in Paris. "We are also maintaining constant
contact with all those who are trying to stop the destruction of these pre-Islamic
statues, especially those countries that have official relations with the Taliban
The French foreign affairs ministry says France has also noted the
positions taken by various religious leaders of Islam regarding the destruction of the
statues. The European Union, too, has urged the Taliban authorities to stop the