Swedish Committee for Afghanistan 
with regard to the edict ordering the destruction of statues in Afghanistan.

It is with the deepest distress and dismay the Swedish Committee for Afghanistan has been apprised about the Amir-ul-Mominin edict that all statues in Afghanistan, including the giant Buddhas in Bamyan, must be destroyed. The ordered destruction is a tragedy not only for the Afghan nation and its people who will loose a substantial part of its hereditary cultural artifacts but also for humanity as a whole since the statues in Afghanistan are a part of our common cultural treasure. This action causes serious doubts whether the Taliban, as their representatives often have said, wants to be part of the international community.

According to the edict the destruction is necessary in order to prevent idolatry. However, this argument is not valid since there are no citizens in Afghanistan who worship these statutes. And even if that was the case, the destruction can not be justified since it is clearly written in the Holy Koran that Muslims are "prohibited from even insulting man-made Gods, such as statues, in order to avoid the insult of the one and only God almighty in return," (A108 - Surat Enham).

Islam is known as a religion of tolerance but through their actions the Taliban is contradicting this perception. The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan, which for 20 years has been standing by and assisted the Afghan people in their time of deepest misery during Jehad and civil war, strongly protests against the edict and appeal to the Taliban authorities to reverse the decision.

Anders Fänge
Peter Hjukström
Country Director Secretary General

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Peshawar, 4 March 2001
For more information, please contact:
Aake Johansson
Swedish Committee for Afghanistan,
Information Unit,
GPO Box 689
Peshawar, Pakistan
Ph. 92 - 91 - 84 02 57



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