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They were declared false idols, but there have been other reasons put forward as to why they were destroyed.An envoy visiting the United States soon after the statues were bombed said they were destroyed in protest for international aid being reserved for their maintenance while the country was coping with famine.Bamyan province takes its name from Sanskrit word varmayana.Many statues of Buddha are carved into the sides of cliffs facing the city.
In March 2001, on orders from the Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, the two statues were dynamited and destroyed.
The Afghan Foreign Minister said that it was about Islamic religious iconoclasm; the destruction has been held up as an example of the intolerance that the Taliban has for other religions.
Many countries have pledged their support for getting the statues rebuilt.
Trudging halfway up a jagged goat trail, guide Mohammad Ibrahim extolled the panoramic view: a vast, ancient landscape of russet-hued cliffs that is on the frontline of Afghan efforts to jump-start warzone tourism.
Bamiyan - famous for empty hillside niches that once sheltered giant Buddha statues that were blown up by the Taliban - is a rare oasis of tranquility that has largely been spared the wrenching conflict that afflicts the rest of Afghanistan.
They had been carved directly into the sandstone cliffs and details were added with stucco.