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Thứ Tư, tháng 10 25, 2006

No. 1199 (Hạt Cát dịch)

NZ army destroys bomb threat to 2000-year-old Buddha
23 October 2006

New Zealand army explosive experts have saved a 2000-year-old Buddha by destroying a 500kg bomb found at the base of the statue in Afghanistan.

The army's provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) bomb experts were called in when workers found the large incendiary bomb at the foot of the 53 metre high statue in the Bamyan province.

The statue was believed to have been carved into the mountains in the sixth to seventh century but survived a Taliban attack which destroyed many other statues.

The workers who found the bomb were part of an international team working on the restoration of two Buddhas destroyed by the Taliban.

The workers at first thought the bomb was a piece of tin, said Edmund Melzl, a spokesman for the International Council on Monuments and Sites.

In the latest issue of the New Zealand army magazine, Army News, he said as soon as they learned it was more than a harmless piece of tin, the New Zealand army was called.

Air Force armourer, Corporal Jim Johns said the bomb's history was not known but it may have been dropped when the Russians were fighting the Mujahadeen but failed to go off.

AdvertisementAdvertisement"Then when the Taliban came in and were blowing up the Buddhas it was probably placed alongside other ordnance, failed to go off and was buried under the rubble.

The bomb was pulled out from the base of the statue using a block and tackle. It was destroyed in a controlled explosion which generated a loud explosion before a large white cloud rose over the statue.

"I am so happy with what has happened here," said Mr Melzl.

"Thanks to the PRT we can resume our work and no damage has been done to the Buddha which was our biggest fear," he said in the army newspaper.

The bomb was one of the biggest destroyed by the army PRT team in Afghanistan.

http://www.stuff.co.nz/stuff/0,2106,3837724a12,00.html