Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

Students blockade Paris schools to protest suspected police rape

Read more

ACROSS AFRICA

Displaced people in South Sudan suffer from untreated mental disorders

Read more

EYE ON AFRICA

Somalian President asks Al Shabaab to lay down their weapons

Read more

THE DEBATE

Borderline Politics: US-Mexico relations hit a wall (part 1)

Read more

THE DEBATE

Borderline Politics: US-Mexico relations hit a wall (part 2)

Read more

FOCUS

Arms race: Delegations eye lucrative deals at Abu Dhabi military fair

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

France's Salon de l'Agriculture: Celebrating a struggling sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Brazil: Carnival in a time of crisis

Read more

ENCORE!

A long way from home: 'Lion' stars Nicole Kidman and Dev Patel hit the red carpet

Read more

REPORTERS

An in-depth report by our senior reporters and team of correspondents from around the world. Every Saturday at 9.10 pm Paris time. And you can watch it online as early as Friday.

Latest update : 2011-07-18

Bamiyan, the future for Afghanistan?

At the start of July, NATO began to withdraw its troops from Afghanistan, handing responsibility over to the Afghan authorities. Bamiyan is one of the first regions involved in this process.

The first thing that strikes you on arrival are the distant mountain, with two gaping holes on either side. In March 2001, the Taliban destroyed the two tallest Buddhas in the world: one 38m high, the other 53m. Today, this is probably one of the world's saddest landscapes. The empty niches represent years of barbarity, deception and delusion. At the scene, a few workers pick up the last remaining stones and safely stow them away. According to UNESCO, the stones collected following the destruction of the Buddhas could help to rebuild them one day.

The Hazara

A little further on, we reach the town centre. In reality, it's just a main street with a few stalls on either side of the road. Arriving in Bamiyan gives you the impression that you have left Afghanistan; there are almost no blue burqas and the inhabitants have Mongoloid features. Legend has it that they are direct descendents from Genghis Khan's soldiers. These people are Hazaras, the only Shiite ethnic group in Afghanistan, which is 90% Sunni. The Taliban denounced them as infidels. When the Taliban entered Bamiyan, they killed 15,000 members of the local population. Since then, the population has deplored the Taliban and lives in fear of their return.

Band-e Amir

Not so long ago, the Bamiyan region attracted the most tourists in Afghanistan. Habiba Sarabi is trying to entice the tourists back. In 2005, she became the first Afghan woman to be elected governor of a province. She decided to create Band-e Amir, the first Afghan national park. The series of six lakes in the middle of the mountains contain a certain curiosity. They come in a variety of colours so that the handful of tourists passing through - soldiers, aid workers and even a few Afghans - can paddle on the turquoise lake.

An Afghan fantasy

Despite all this, Bamiyan is one of the poorest regions of Afghanistan. The inhabitants live in caves and use crude, stone-age tools. NATO forces are set to completely withdraw from the province, handing control to the police and army who are unable to drive out the Taliban. But Bamiyan gives a glimpse of how Afghanistan will manage on its own. Whether the Afghanistan of tomorrow will be able to resume its previous way of life or whether it will be deeply marked by the coalition’s intervention remains to be seen. For now, Bamiyan remains the illustrious vision of Afghanistan's future in the minds of the Western powers.

By Sylvain ROUSSEAU

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2017-02-16 Asia-pacific

Thailand still mourning its beloved King Bhumibol

He was the world’s richest monarch – wealthier than Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II - and the longest-serving, spending 70 years on the throne. Thailand’s King Bhumibol Adulyadej,...

Read more

2017-02-09 Africa

Rose Nathike: S. Sudan athlete’s race for a better life

For Rose Nathike, running is a way of life. First the South Sudanese athlete ran to flee the war in Sudan. Then she trained at her refugee camp in northern Kenya. Finally she...

Read more

2017-02-02 jihad

Video: Jihad Sisters, French women bound for ISIS

France 24 brings you an exceptional documentary in partnership with French TV news magazine "Envoyé spécial", on the hidden women of the jihadist web, the "sisters" of the...

Read more

2017-01-26 Asia-pacific

Flight MH370: Families of missing passengers search for the truth

It’s a unique case in the history of modern aviation. Nearly three years after its disappearance, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, a Boeing 777 with 239 people on board, has still...

Read more

2017-01-19 Burundi

Burundi: Fear and Exile

When Burundi’s President Pierre Nkurunziza announced he was running for a controversial third mandate in April 2015, he sparked a major crisis and many demonstrations. Since...

Read more