Twenty years after the destruction of Afghanistan's Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban, the Guimet Museum in Paris is paying tribute to the dramatic 6th- and 7th-century sculptures and to the people of Bamiyan, the Hazara Shiites slain by the Taliban at the dawn of this century.
French archaeologists Joseph and Ria Hackin revealed the statues to the Western world nearly a century ago.
A cultural crossroads on the ancient Silk Road, Bamiyan was a centre of Buddhist teaching in the 6th century A.D., when two giant Buddhist statues were sculpted into the rockface of its cliffs. The statues served as a reminder of that golden age until March 11, 2001, when they were blown up by the Taliban, which also ordered the execution of 10,000 Hazara Shiites in the area.
"Bamiyan was the first assassination carried out this century and was the harbinger of other rivers of blood," artist and historian Pascal Convert told FRANCE 24 at the Guimet Museum. "After their destruction on March 11, there was September 11. The twinning of the Buddhas. The twin towers. The twin aspect of the number 11."
FRANCE 24's Sylvain Rousseau, Mandi Heshmati and Aurélien Porcher filed this report, voiced by Andrew Hilliar.
To watch, click on the video player above.