Find stirs Sleeping Buddha talk - The Washington Times: World Briefings - December 04, 2004:
BAMIYAN, Afghanistan — "French archeologists searching for the colossal Sleeping Buddha in Bamiyan province have uncovered what could be the long-missing statue's foot, raising hopes of a major new discovery from Afghanistan's ancient Buddhist past."
"Ever since the fundamentalist Taliban destroyed Bamiyan's 1,500-year-old Standing Buddhas in 2001 because they were "un-Islamic," attention has been focused on the hunt for the much larger Sleeping Buddha, described in the travel diary of the seventh-century Chinese monk Xuan Zang and depicted in cave paintings."
"The German, Italian and Japanese missions are funded by UNESCO, while the French archeologists are supported by their government and National Geographic magazine. With snow enveloping Bamiyan last week, all the missions have packed up for winter and will return next year.
"'Until now, UNESCO has not focused on archaeological excavation, since for the first two years we had less than $2 million for the Bamiyan project,' Mr. Nagaoka said. He said UNESCO's Bamiyan Working Group is to meet in Tokyo Dec. 18-21 to plan the second phase of exploration at the historic Buddhist site. Mr. Tarzi has also been invited.
"UNESCO has been under considerable pressure to help with the reconstruction of the Standing Buddhas. The people of Bamiyan province, Shi'ite Hazaras who suffered terribly under Taliban rule, want to see the statues rebuilt. However, the rebuilding issue is generating controversy."