'Osama ordered Afghan Buddha statue demolition'
The Bamiyan Buddhas, 180 and 121 feet high, were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world.india Updated: Mar 28, 2006 11:53 IST
A Swiss filmmaker has revealed that the the giant Buddha statues in Bamiyan in Afghanistan were destroyed on the orders of Al-Qaeda supremo Osama Bin Laden, both as an act of provocation and as a "rehearsal" for 9/11.
Christian Frei, director of an acclaimed Swiss documentary on the two statues carved into the side of a mountain more than 1,500 years ago, said that there was documentary evidence that Taiban chief Mullah Omar and the Afghans in Bamiyan had opposed the demolition.
Asked what further information he could provide regarding the claim made in his documentary that the giant Buddhas were ultimately demolished by Saudi and Pakistani engineers, he replied that this was what a local Afghan, who appears in the movie, had said.
The documentary will be shown in Afghanistan later this year after being dubbed into Persian or Darri.
The Bamiyan Buddhas, measuring 180 and 121 feet high, were the largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the world. They were listed among Unesco's World Heritage Sites.
In March 2001, the Islamist Taliban government decreed that the statues were idolatrous and unislamic and the two figures were demolished after almost a month of intensive bombardment.
First Published: Mar 28, 2006 11:53 IST