Bamiyan Province (Persian: بامیان) is
one of the thirty-four provinces of Afghanistan. It is in the centre of the
country. Its capital is also called Bamiyan. Bamiyan is the largest town in
the Hazarajat region of Afghanistan, and is the cultural capital of the
Hazara ethnic group that predominates in the area.
In antiquity, central Afghanistan was strategically placed to thrive from
the Silk Road caravans which criss-crossed the region trading between the
Roman Empire, China, Central and South Asia. Bamyan was a stopping off point
for many travellers. It was here where elements of Greek, Persian and
Buddhist art were combined into a unique classical style, known as
Bamiyan was the site of an early Buddhist monastery. Many statues of Buddha
are carved into the sides of cliffs facing Bamiyan city. The two most
prominent of these statues were standing Buddhas, now known as the Buddhas
of Bamiyan, measuring 55 and 37 meters high respectively, that were the
largest examples of standing Buddha carvings in the
world. They were probably erected in the 4th or 5th century C.E. They were
cultural landmarks for many years and are listed among UNESCO's World
Heritage Sites. In March 2001 the Taliban government decreed that the
statues were idolatrous and ordered them to be demolished with anti-aircraft
artillery and explosives.
Bamiyan is also known for its natural beauty. The Band-e Amir lakes in
western Bamiyan province continue to be a tourist destination for Afghans.
Bamiyan is currently the base of operations for the New Zealand peace
keeping force , a Provincial Reconstruction Team codenamed Task Group
Crib, which is part of the network of Provincial Reconstruction
Teams throughout Afghanistan It is recognised as one of the safest provinces in the country
which has allowed for much concerntration on civil rebuilding
There are currently 122 New Zealand Defence Force personnel in Bamiyan. To
date they have helped with reconstruction work including building bridges
and schools as well as maintaining security in the region.
The New Zealand Police are also working in the region to help train the
Afghan National Police (ANP). In July 2006 three Afghan women signed to join
the ANP in Bamiyan, the first time women have joined a police force in