No plan to rebuild Afghan Buddhas: Thailand | india | Hindustan Times
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No plan to rebuild Afghan Buddhas: Thailand

india Updated: Jun 20, 2006 14:49 IST

Thailand on Tuesday denied reports that Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra had offered to rebuild two giant ancient Buddha statues destroyed by Afghanistan's former Taliban regime in 2001.

Government spokesman Surapong Suebwonglee said the premier had only offered to collect the remains of the 1,500-year-old statues for use in producing small replicas.

"There was some mistranslation in some of the reports," Surapong told the agency.

Thai media reported on Sunday that Thaksin had offered to rebuild the statues, which had been the world's tallest standing Buddhas, when he spoke with Afghan President Hamid Karzai at a regional conference last weekend in Kazakhstan.

Karzai told the Thai premier he would consider the proposal to make small statues using the remains of the originals, according to Surapong.

The Islamic fundamentalist Taliban, ignoring world protests, dynamited the two statues carved into the sandstone cliffs of Bamiyan in March 2001, branding them un-Islamic.

The regime was ousted later that year in a US-led military campaign after the September 11 attacks on the United States.