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Afghanistan's Neighbors React "Destructive Frenzy in Afghanistan"
March 2, 2001

Pakistani Foreign Ministry: "Pakistan attaches great importance to and supports the preservation of the world's historical, cultural and religious heritage. We appeal to the Afghan government to take measures to fully protect Afghanistan's rich historical, cultural, and religious heritage."

Pakistani Foreign Secretary Inamul Haque: "We hope the Afghanistan government would give serious consideration to this international appeal, including that by UNESCO and others, and that they will not demolish the cultural heritage of Afghanistan."

Pakistani archaeologist Ahmed Hasan Dani: "These are not there to be worshiped. They are works of art. They belong to all humanity."

India's Parliamentary Affairs Minister Pramod Mahajan: "The government of India will raise this issue at every international forum including the United Nations. We will make all attempts to stop the demolition of Lord Buddha's statue. This is not a statue, but a legacy of humanity. Nobody should demolish it."

India's Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh: "If the Taliban do not wish to retain their inheritance, India would be happy to arrange for the transfer of all these artifacts to India, where they would be kept safely and preserved for all mankind. It is tragic that this act of vandalism, the most extreme among the many other acts of destruction of statues, artifacts and archaeological treasures of Afghanistan, is being pursued despite a global outcry against it.''

Former Director of the Archaeological Survey of India R. Sengupta: "...particularly sad for India. They were some of the finest specimens of Buddhist civilization and culture."

India's Former Ambassador to Afghanistan: "It's extremely tragic. The destruction of any global property is an issue of utmost concern. They have not only destroyed world-famous heritage but shattered the sentiments of millions of Buddhist followers."

Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization: "Strangely, certain Taliban-led individuals, calling themselves 'cleric,' have ordered destruction of ancient sites...citing blasphemy and idolizing as reasons." "We condemn the destruction of statues of Buddha which are treasures of mankind just like the Taj Mahal or Imam Square in Isfahan. It is very strange that centuries after the Afghan people became Muslims, and received the strength of Islam...certain people who claim to be religious accuse some of anathema and idolatry."

Iran News: "Through their irrational acts, the Taliban are proving once again that they are not only against the history and culture of their own people, but they are also working hard to deny the Afghan people their future."

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© 2001 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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