U.S. State Department spokesman Philip Reeker: "The United States is
distressed and baffled by this announcement by the Taliban. Their action
directly contradicts one of Islam's basic tenets--tolerance for other
religions. Deliberate destruction of statues and sculpture held as sacred
by peoples of different faiths is incomprehensible, as is the Taliban's
utter rejection of the treasures of Afghanistan's past. The United States
joins the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan, the UN Economic
and Social Council and other governments in urging the Taliban to halt this
desecration of Afghanistan's cultural heritage."
The European Union: "The EU strongly urges the Taliban leadership not to
implement this deeply tragic decision which will deprive the people of
Afghanistan of its rich cultural heritage."
French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero: "The announcement by
Mullah Mohamed Omar, supreme leader of the Taliban, that all pre-Islamic
statues would be destroyed is appalling."
Russian Foreign Ministry: "These intentions cannot be judged otherwise than
as an assault on the cultural and historical achievements of not only the
Afghan people, but also of world civilization. The Taliban's vandalism
against material objects of the rich spiritual heritage of the ancient
Afghan world shows their clear enmity to common human values."
German Foreign Ministry: "Germany is appalled by the willful destruction of
cultural artifacts in Afghanistan. The damage to culturally unique Buddha
statues by the Taliban cannot be justified."
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshiro Mori's spokesman, Kazuhiko Koshikawa: "The
Japanese government is deeply concerned. If they are ruined, it would be an
immeasurable loss. The Japanese government hopes that Taliban will review
such a decision and take appropriate measures."
Thailand's Foreign Ministry spokesman Pradap Pibulsonggram: [Loss of the
Bamiyan Buddhas would be a] "loss to humanity. It's the loss of Afghanistan
to destroy these. One day when they resolve their problems, they'll want to
attract tourism. This would help them. The Taliban is destroying not so
much the Buddhist image, but something that is in their country that is of
value, even though they're not Buddhists. It's their loss"
Sri Lanka's government spokesman Ariya Rubasinghe: "If true, this is a very
serious matter and we are gravely concerned."
Italy's ambassador to Pakistan Angelo Gabriele de Ceglie: "It is a great
loss, a tragedy for the Afghan people and for the world. This is a
historical treasure, a cultural heritage that belongs to the world." "This
is a stupid decision that is symptomatic of a general malaise in the