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Overseer of Buddhas' Demise Now in Office

October 19, 2005

A former regional governor who oversaw the destruction of two massive 1,500-year-old Buddha statues during the Taliban's rule was elected to the Afghan parliament, officials said.

Mawlawi Mohammed Islam Mohammedi, governor of Bamian province when the Buddhas, which dated to the 3rd and 5th centuries, were blown up with dynamite and artillery in March 2001, was chosen to represent the neighboring province of Samangan. Election law did not bar former Taliban from participating in the Sept. 18 polls.

The ancient Buddhas had been chiseled into a cliff. The larger of them was 175 feet tall.

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