Blowing Up Buddha

Blowing Up Buddah

Almost twenty years ago, a band of fundamentalist, doctrinaire terrorists called the Taliban, decided that their vision of a better world could not be attained without the destruction of 6th century artistic expressions of Buddha’s carved out of sandstone cliffs in Afghanistan.

I remember how apalled I and most of the world was at the wanton destruction of these artifacts. I wasn’t upset because some false God’s were being removed from mountain sides. The rest of the world wasn’t upset about the falsity of the Buddha carvings. But most were apalled that such historical works of art were being destroyed. As we know, this was just the beginning. The Taliban looted, crushed, dynamited and broke hundreds of other ancient ruins that historians were still studying in hopes of understanding more of the past. In the process, they also terrorized and murdered thousands.

The quotes below are from an article written in 2015 under the title, 

The man who helped blow up the Bamiyan Buddhas

12 March 2015


  • Built in the 6th Century, when Bamiyan was a holy Buddhist site
  • In 629AD, Chinese traveller Xuanzang described Bamiyan as a bustling centre with tens of thousands of monks
  • The two most prominent statues were 55m and 37m high
  • Bodies carved out of sandstone cliffs
  • Demolished in March 2001 after being declared idols

“When the big explosion happened, the area in front of the Buddha was full of smoke and flames and the air smelled of burned gun powder,” Mr Hussain recalls.

He says the Taliban commanders had expected that they would not just destroy the Buddhas but bring the whole cliff face down, but the explosion only blew off the legs of the bigger Buddha. The destruction caused an internaitonal outcry.

Taliban celebrations

But despite the setback and an international chorus of condemnation, the Taliban carried on.

Mr Hussain [one of the men conscripted by the Taliban to destroy the carvings] recalls how additional bombs were brought in along with explosive material that he says looked like soap and felt like dough.

“From then on, they carried out two to three explosions every day to destroy the Buddha completely,” he says.

“We drilled holes into the statue to plant the dynamite. We didn’t have proper tools. The whole process took 25 days.”

The men were fed small portions of rice and bread and Mr Hussain says he made do with the same clothes throughout and just a thin blanket during freezing nights.

When the statues were finally destroyed, the Taliban were celebrating.

“They were firing weapons into the air, they were dancing and they brought nine cows to slaughter as a sacrifice,” he says.

‘No choice’

Mr Hussain now works as a bike repair man in Bamiyan.

Mirza Hussain was 26 years old when Taliban militants forced him to plant explosives at the world heritage site
                                     Image caption  Mirza Hussain
says he has always regretted his part in the destruction

He says he feels safe in the city now and hopes the government and foreign donors will rebuild the Buddhas. As for his own role in their destruction, he has only remorse.

“I regretted it at that time, I regret it now and I will always regret it,” he says. “But I could not resist, I didn’t have a choice because they would have killed me.”

You can read the whole article at the following link:

In our day, in our country, a new “American Taliban” has ascended. They are the progressive leftists forcibily destroying the “corruptions of the past” because a world in which offensive statues exist is intolerable to their socialist, fundamentalist, doctrinaire terrorism. Not all of their points are invalid. But their methods and rhetoric sound very much like 2001 and Afghanistan. Maybe I should have titled this article, Blowing Up America.

It’s the road that we are on.

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