In the wake of the Taliban’s destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas of Afghanistan in 2001, a new policy under UNESCO is being made to reconstruct the statues using laser scanning and 3D printing. The giant stone statues had been reduced to crumbles by the Afghanistan’s Taliban.
Formerly, the UNESCO said it was impossible to reconstruct them using original material, and therefore, it was decided that the statues’ niches were best left empty as a testament to the vandalism inflicted on the world’s patrimony.
In the ensuing years, UNESCO officials, Afghan authorities, and local residents have failed to reach a consensus about the best way to address the devastation. In 2005, the artist Hiro Yamagata proposed implementing a laser-show system to conjure images of the Buddhas, but the project was never implemented.
It remains to be seen whether UNESCO’s line on the Bamiyan Buddhas changes to account for demands at a local level. The Afghan ministry of culture and the governor of the Bamiyan region want at least one of the statues rebuilt.