Taliban Guards Once-Hated Buddhas as It Eyes Chinese Cash From Copper


I want to talk about the Taliban and the statues of ancient buddhas that are in Afghanistan built many of them hundreds of years ago. And you might remember the episode going back now to when the Taliban first came to power, they hate these Buddha statues because to the Taliban, this is sort of heresy. This is not heresy, but this is the wrong path to the truth, if you will. The only path is Allah's path. And so these other religions are kind of violations of the truth. And so the Taliban mounts what can be accurately called a crusade against those. Buddha statues and they blew up a bunch of them in a part of the country. They said these are pagan idols. We don't want them in an Islamic State. And so bam, down they go and the world was a little outraged, not because the world is people around the world are partisans of Buddhism, per se, but these statues have a historical and a. Historical significance, as well as obviously a religious significance for Buddhists. So there was a sort of outrage against religious freedom, a kind of outrage against the idea that these are a preservation of the historical record, but the Taliban, of course, doesn't care about any of that historical record who reads history, and probably for them history begins in the 7th century anyway. Now, interestingly, the same controversy has been resurrected now because there are ancient Buddha statues carved into the cliffs of rural Afghanistan and they are looking over a kind of ravine. And hundreds of meters down, there is what is believed to be the world's largest deposit of copper copper. Now, in Taliban want to promote economic development in their country and I think ordinarily, they'd be really happy to blow up these Buddha statues, but they've realized that the Buddha statues are going to be of some value to any country that wants to come in and mine that copper for them. Now, a bunch of countries want to be in on this deal. Russia has said, we'll do it. We'll line the copper Iran has said, we'll do it. Turkey said, we'll do it with a country that wants to do it the most is China. China. And interestingly, although China is a communist society and although China is officially anti religious and they of course persecute Christians in China, the Chinese like the Buddha statues. Partly it could be because there was a history of Buddhism that made its way to the far east and all the way to China. It could be because the Chinese simply think that for historical reasons they would like to preserve these statues in any event, they have let the Taliban know that these statues are valuable and should not be desecrated or

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