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It was the site of several Buddhist monasteries, and a thriving center for religion, philosophy, and art.
Monks at the monasteries lived as hermits in small caves carved into the side of the Bamiyan cliffs.
Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction.
Later, the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues.
Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Turkic king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.
During the ongoing Afghan Civil War, the area around the Buddhas was under the control of the Hizb-i-Wahdat militia, a part of the Northern Alliance which was fighting at the time against the Taliban, a conservative fundamentalist militia.
The rows of holes that can be seen in photographs held wooden pegs that stabilized the outer stucco.Bamyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamyan Valley.The Silk Road has been historically a caravan route linking the markets of China with those of the Western world.The statues were dynamited and destroyed in March 2001 by the Taliban, on orders from leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, An envoy visiting the United States in the following weeks said that they were destroyed in protest of international aid exclusively reserved for statue maintenance while Afghanistan was experiencing famine, while the Afghan Taliban Foreign Minister claimed that the destruction was merely about carrying out Islamic religious iconoclasm.International opinion strongly condemned the destruction of the Buddhas.