Archaeologists Debate Rages over Lost Afghan Buddhas

| 30 November 2016, 15:45 Journal News: Archaeologists and restorers, mostly Afghan, German, Japanese and French, working in the Bamiyan Valley to rebuild Buddhas in central Afghanistan will meet from December 1-3 in Munich, Germany.

The artefacts were built in the 6th century AD, when Bamiyan was a Buddhist trading post. Over the centuries they had suffered much destruction. But the Taliban, with their denunciation of idols, finished them off in April 2001.

But experts are divided on the value of rebuilding the artefacts, with some insisting it is more important to preserve the remains of the entire crumbling site.

There they will try to move forward on the issue, as much a matter of the conservation of the UNESCO World Heritage Site as of the memories and culture of a brutalized community.

Since 2001, German researchers have also worked on protecting the wall murals -- there are more than 4,000 caves in Bamiyan and all of them have designs and were painted

The debate will not be decided in Munich, where experts will simply agree on the work to preserve the site -- or in Abu Dhabi, where Afghan President Ashraf Ghani will attend a separate conference on safeguarding cultural heritage this weekend.

But the question is already on the agenda of an international conference on Bamiyan next autumn in Tokyo