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The Taliban's 'Divine Punishment'

THE US bombs falling on Afghanistan's ruling Taliban are divine punishment for their destruction of the ancient Bamiyan Buddha statues, Hindu and Buddhist leaders said on Sunday.

Acharya Giriraj Kishore, head of the right-wing Hindu movement Vishwa Hindu Parishad, said the US-led campaign on Afghanistan was "godly punishment". "If you trouble God and cause harm to him, He is not going to let you live in peace," Kishore told the Press Trust of India.

Lama Lobzang, a leader in the predominantly Buddhist area of Ladakh in Kashmir, said that when the Bamiyan Buddhas were destroyed the Buddhist community had a "strong feeling that the Taliban regime will pay for it." "Our religion prescribes that one will reap what one has sowed and we strongly believe in that. This is the classic example in that context," he said.

The Taliban in March reduced to rubble the two Buddha statues, the larger of which stood 55 meters, with 20 days of dynamite, rockets and tank shells. The Taliban said they destroyed the 1 500-year-old giant Buddhas because they were idols.

The United States has been bombing Afghanistan for four weeks after the Taliban refused to hand over Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, accused of masterminding the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington that left close to 5 000 dead. - Sapa-AFP

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The Taliban's 'Divine Punishment'
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