NATIONAL

Bamiyan Buddhas to be restored

KABUL, DEC. 30. Afghanistan's new Government will restore the Bamiyan Buddhas, an emblem of culture destroyed by the Taliban regime, the Minister for Culture and Information, Mr. Raheen Makhdoom, said today.

The two giant statues, which date back some 1,800 years, were blown up by the Taliban in March in a 20-day barrage of dynamite, rockets and tank shells that sparked international outrage.

``The restoration of the Buddhas is one of our top priorities,'' along with the revival of the media and broadcasting sector, he said.

Mr. Makhdoom, a specialist in Afghan culture and Sufi poetry, said the administration would hold a seminar focussing on the statues and the restoration of the National Museum, which was also destroyed by the Taliban.

Experts would be invited to attend and help map out a plan to tackle the ambitious rebuilding projects.

The Minister said he was awaiting ``the response of the UNESCO'' before announcing the dates of the meeting.

- AFP

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