Taliban Now Preserve Buddha Statues To Intice Chinese Investments

Mes Aynak Site: The Taliban regime in Afghanistan has stated that it will safeguard the ancient Buddha statues in Mes Aynak, which is also home to a copper mine that the Taliban is attempting to attract Chinese investment.

Key Points:

  • The Taliban's current posture contrasts sharply with their previous leadership in Afghanistan when they used artillery, explosives, and rockets to destroy centuries-old Buddha sculptures in Bamiyan.
  • The leadership's apparent change of heart on the Mes Aynak monuments appears to be motivated by economic considerations, with the dictatorship in desperate need of the revenue that Chinese investment in copper mines may provide.

About Mes Aynak Site:

  • Mes Aynak is a site that is located 40 km southeast of Kabul, Afghanistan.
  • It is located in the Logar Province’s barren region.
  • Mes Aynak contains Afghanistan's largest copper deposit.
  • The remains of an ancient settlement with over 400 Buddha statues, stupas and a 40 ha (100 acres) monastery complex are also found in this region.
  • Artifacts that date back to the Bronze Age, with some dating back over 3000 years have been recovered at this site.
  • This site possesses a vast complex of Buddhist monasteries, homes, and market areas.
  • Discovered in the 1960s by French geologists, the site was believed to have been an important stop along the Silk Road from the early centuries AD.
  • The site's orientation on the Silk Road has yielded a mixture of elements from China and India.
  • In 1973-74, the archaeological wealth of this site was discovered by Afghan and Russian geologists.

History of this site:

  • Between the 5th and 7th century AD, Mes Aynak was at the peak of its prosperity. 
  • Alchon Hun monarchs Khingila and Mehama's coins were discovered here, confirming the Alchon presence in the area between 450 and 500 CE.
  • The settlement's slow decline began in the 8th Century and it was abandoned 200 years later.
  • During the 10th century, the city was ruled by Brahman Shahi, the king of Kabul, Jaypaldeva.
  • However, it was later burned to ashes by a Gaznavaid invasion.
  • Once the walls were destroyed, it was easy for the Gaznavi to travel across Hindi Kush and invade mainland India.
  • The citizens of Mes Aynak generally followed Buddhism and Hinduism equally.
  • The earliest Buddhist remains date from the Kushan era, although this gradually gave way to T'ang Chinese and Uyghur influences.


  • The word Mes Aynak literally means "little source of copper"; mes is "copper", while aynak is a diminutive form of ayn which means "source".

About Afghanistan:

  • Afghanistan, officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country in Asia.
  • It is bordered by Pakistan to the east and south; Iran to the west; Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan to the north; and China to the northeast.
  • Its capital is Kabul.
  • The currency used here is the Afghan afghani.