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G-8 ministers urge Taliban to stop attacking ancient relics

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March 5, 2001 


TRIESTE-(AP) - Environment ministers from the world's seven most industrialized countries plus Russia on Sunday strongly condemned the attack by Taliban soldiers on ancient relics in Afghanistan and urged them to stop the assault.

"We express dismay and shock at reports of the edict of the Taliban leadership ordering the destruction of all statues and shrines in Afghanistan," said the final document issued by G-8 ministers at the end of a three-day summit in Trieste, northern Italy.

"We strongly urge the Taliban leadership not to implement this tragic decision."

Taliban soldiers have been pounding statues, including two towering Buddhas in the central city of Bamiyan, for three days. Witnesses said they were using antiaircraft weapons, tanks and explosives.

The Taliban have ignored pleas from an outraged world to stop the destruction of the ancient relics from the country's pre-Islamic past.

"Afghanistan's rich cultural heritage is of vital importance not only to the people of the Afghanistan, but also to the world as a whole," G-8 leaders said.

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