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Prime Minister writes to world leaders on Taliban's decree to destroy all religious statues in Afghanistan

New Delhi 
March 2, 2001 

The Prime Minister of India, Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee, has written to the leaders of Japan, South Korea, Cambodia, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, U.S.A., U.K., France, Russia and China and the U.N. Secretary-General about the reported decree of the Taliban leaders in Afghanistan to destroy all statues in that country including the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas, describing this order as a "disquieting development".

The Prime Minister added that the reported decree "represents a further obscurantist regression - an assault on centuries of Afghan tradition and upon an irreplaceable civilisational inheritance of all mankind. We are disturbed to see reports that this demolition is already in progress". 

Prime Minister Vajpayee urged that "the collective voice of humanity be raised against this outrage, and that the Taliban be made to see reason". He also urged that "we should also take up this matter with those countries that have influence with the Taliban, so that they, too, could intervene to seek the withdrawal of the decree".