KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) - Afghanistan’s hard-line Taliban rulers ordered the destruction Monday of all statues, including a giant 5th-century Buddha that is said to be the world’s tallest of its kind. The order came from the Taliban’s supreme leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, who issued an edict declaring statues, including the ancient Buddhas, as insulting to Islam.
“Because God is one God and these statues are there to be worshipped and that is wrong. They should be destroyed so that they are not worshipped now or in the future,” Omar said
in his edict, published by the Taliban-run Bakhtar News Agency. Afghanistan’s ancient Buddhas are located in Bamiyan,
about 90 miles west of the Afghan capital of Kabul. One Buddha, measuring 175 feet, is said to be the world’s tallest
statue in which Buddha is standing up rather than sitting. The smaller is 120 feet tall. The two statues, which have been damaged in fighting in the area, were carved out of the Afghan mountainside in the 5th century.