On this day … The destruction of the two giant 4th and 5th-century buddhas in Bamiyan is, by far, the most spectacular attack against the cultural and historical heritage of Afghanistan. On February 26, 2001 the Taliban, issued a decree ordering the elimination of all non-Islamic statues and sanctuaries in the country. A kind of jihad was launched against the two Buddhas. “Our soldiers are working hard; they are using all available arms against them,” said the Taliban’s spokesman. Rockets and tank shells were brought in, and the destruction was completed with dynamite. The giant statues, once standing 35 and 53m tall, were reduced to rubble within days. Today, archaeological sites in Afghanistan are still under threat, though not solely from the Taliban… Over coming posts I’ll share details of Mes Aynak, an ancient and significant site facing imminent destruction, so a foreign-state-owned mining company can harvest the copper reserves buried directly beneath.
Here photographed a ‘Victory Arch’ built by the Northern Alliance at the entrance to a local commanders’s HQ in Bamiyan after the expulsion of the Taliban.
In the centre can be seen one of the niches that previously contained the smaller of the buddhas.
Follow @simonnorfolkstudio for updates, outtakes, unpublished and archive material.
@instituteartist @michaelhoppengallery @benrubi_gallery @galleryluisotti @natgeo @thephotosociety #photojournalism #documentaryphotography #simonnorfolk #archaeology #afghanistan #taliban #mesaynak #aftermath #buddhism #history #worldheritage #buddha #bamiyan #simonnorfolkstudio #documentary #reportage #bamyan #visualarchitects @simonnorfolkstudio