Whatever happens now to the Taleban-controlled government in Afghanistan, the regime has already left one permanent mark on the country.
The destruction of its most famous archaeological monuments – the giant stone figures known as the Bamiyan buddhas – led to global condemnation of the Taleban regime.
But now one of the buddhas is rising again, except this time in western China, where a team of workmen are carving a replica figure into a cliff-face in Sichuan. As more than 300 stonemasons chip away at the rock, the giant figure is gradually emerging into view. The sandstone cliff near Leshan, in the lush green hills of Western China, is redder than the more golden sandstone near Bamiyan.
Nonetheless, the Chinese project aims to recreate the Afghan buddha the way it used to be, before erosion and intolerance destroyed its face and dynamite reduced it to a heap of rubble.
The figure will be 37m high – the same as the smaller of the two Afghan statues. It is being carved by hand with mallets and chisels, just like the original figures.