Swat was once an important center of Buddhist culture and trade. The monk credited with introducing Buddhism to Tibet, Padmasambhava, was born in Swat. A team funded by the Italian government is working with Pakistan's archaeology department to restore and preserve centuries-old Buddhist sites in northwest Pakistan. Militants detonated the face off the towering, 1,500-year-old rock carving in northwest Pakistan in fall 2007, it fell to an intrepid Italian archaeologist, Luca Olivieri, to come to the rescue. – Photos by AP

People sit near a sculpture of the Buddha whose face was destroyed by Taliban fighters at Jahanabad, Pakistan in the Swat valley.
People sit near a sculpture of the Buddha whose face was destroyed by Taliban fighters at Jahanabad, Pakistan in the Swat valley.
Italian archeologist Luca Olivieri, left, talks with colleagues in Saidu Sharif, Pakistan. Olivieri and his partners are working to restore a carving of the Buddha destroyed by Taliban fighters in Pakistan's Swat valley.
Italian archeologist Luca Olivieri, left, talks with colleagues in Saidu Sharif, Pakistan. Olivieri and his partners are working to restore a carving of the Buddha destroyed by Taliban fighters in Pakistan's Swat valley.
A team funded by the Italian government is working with Pakistan's archaeology department to restore and preserve centuries-old Buddhist sites in northwest Pakistan.
A team funded by the Italian government is working with Pakistan's archaeology department to restore and preserve centuries-old Buddhist sites in northwest Pakistan.
A villager walks to a Buddhist stupa called the ?Amlukdara,? which was damaged by thieves looking for statues in Pakistan's Swat Valley.
A villager walks to a Buddhist stupa called the ?Amlukdara,? which was damaged by thieves looking for statues in Pakistan's Swat Valley.
The face of a sculpture of the Buddha which was destroyed by Taliban fighters.
The face of a sculpture of the Buddha which was destroyed by Taliban fighters.

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Comments (2) Closed

raika45
Jun 25, 2012 10:44am
It is acts like these where religious discrimination is set aside to help restore idols of others that tell not all is not lost in your country.The will of these people is to be lauded.
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Virkau
Jun 26, 2012 04:41am
Such radical minds think nothing except destruction. In course of time they begin to destroy themselves as that is the only skill they possess. How can one destroy it's own past, it's own history. Such people have to be of low intellect and possess debased mind.
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