The two most prominent statues were the giant standing sculptures of Buddhas Vairocana and Sakyamuni, identified by the different mudras performed.
The Buddha popularly called "Solsol" measured 53 meters tall, and "Shahmama" 35 meters—the niches in which the figures stood are 58 and 38 meters respectively from bottom to top. Since then the Spring Temple Buddha has been built in China, and at 128 m (420 ft) it is the tallest statue in the world.
Because Afghanistan's Buddhist population no longer exists, and the statues were no longer worshipped, he added: "The government considers the Bamiyan statues as an example of a potential major source of income for Afghanistan from international visitors.
The Taliban states that Bamiyan shall not be destroyed but protected." However, Afghanistan's radical clerics began a campaign to crack down on "un-Islamic" segments of Afghan society.
Abdul Wahed, a Taliban commander operating around the area, announced his intention to blow up the Buddhas in 1997, even before he had taken control of the valley.
In 1998 when he battled off the Hizb-i-Wahdat militia from the area and took control of Bamiyan, Wahed drilled holes in the Buddhas' heads for explosives.
Japan and Switzerland, among others, have pledged support for the rebuilding of the statues.
Bamiyan lies on the Silk Road, which runs through the Hindu Kush mountain region, in the Bamiyan Valley.The Taliban soon banned all forms of imagery, music, and sports, including television, in accordance with what they considered a strict interpretation of Sharia.In March 2001, the statues were destroyed by the Taliban of Mullah Omar following a decree issued by him.Despite the fact that most Afghans are now Muslim, they too had embraced their past and many were appalled by the destruction. Later, the Mughal emperor, Aurangzeb, tried to use heavy artillery to destroy the statues.Another attempt to destroy the Bamiyan statues was made by the 18th century Persian king Nader Afshar, directing cannon fire at them.It was a Buddhist religious site from the 2nd century up to the time of the Islamic invasion in the later half of the 7th century.