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Posted by / 07-Nov-2016 15:23

But it has failed to revive the heyday of tourism after decades of war, including the Taliban's 1996-2001 reign when they destroyed two massive Buddha statues carved into sandstone cliffs, labelling them an affront to Islam - an act globally condemned as 'cultural terrorism'.

Reliable statistics are hard to come by but officials admit that the number of foreign tourists has fallen off a cliff in recent post-Taliban years as pessimism abounds about the state of Afghanistan, trapped in a quagmire of escalating violence.

But in an effort to lure tourists, especially from the sub-continent, Bamiyan was last month inaugurated as the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) cultural capital for 2015 - a move welcomed by local hoteliers and shopkeepers, though few are optimistic.'If you are an Afghan travelling by road, wear a ragged tunic, abandon all government ID and say your prayer,' quipped Umaidullah Azad, a tourist in Band-e Amir, widely known as 'Afghanistan's Grand Canyon' for its azure lakes and rolling limestone cliffs.'If the Taliban flag you down, you have a good chance of surviving if you look like a country bumpkin.

But no chance if you have government or foreign connections,' said Azad, 24, a telecom official who recently made the perilous journey from Kabul.

D."This Buddha has been found in the eastern Buddhist temple where I have been carrying out excavations for the last seven years," Tarzi says.In 2001, the world mourned the senseless destruction of the giant Buddhas of Bamiyan, Afghanistan.Unfortunately, the Buddhas of Bamiyan are only a small part of a great heritage of Buddhist art that is being destroyed by war and fanaticism.For a time, Gandhara also was a jewel of Buddhist civilization.Scholars of Gandhara traveled east to India and China and were influential in the development of early Mahayana Buddhism.

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Bamyan Afghanistan is a historical site and one of the thirty-four provinces whish is located in the center of Afghanistan with the estimated population of 387,300 people.

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