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Abstract

The New York Times has reported that at least some Taliban authorities have directed that all statues in Afghanistan--including those commonly viewed as priceless exemplars of cultural (largely Buddhist) heritage and as treasures--be destroyed. The Taliban's rationale--that these statues have been used as idols and deities by non-Islamic believers and may be turned into idols in the future--is largely discussed in the context of leading to a global cultural catastrophe, as an unacceptable decision, as gratuitous vandalism, as exemplifying a rigid ignorance deserving unique contempt and disgust.

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