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A Japanese doctor living in Pakistan said Saturday he has confirmed that the two world-famous Buddha statues in Bamyan have been destroyed by the country’s Taliban authorities.

One of the statues was completely demolished while the head of the taller one was blasted off, according to Tetsu Nakamura, who added that he saw hundreds of Taliban soldiers near the statues last Sunday.

Peshawar-based Nakamura, 54, has been involved in leprosy control in areas along the Pakistan-Afghanistan border since 1984.

He said he arrived in Bamyan after an eight-hour drive from Kabul while on a 370-km medical fact-finding tour.

Nakamura said he was allowed near the statues after being granted special dispensation documents because of his medical activities. He was a leading member of the nongovernmental Peshawar Aid Society, based in Fukuoka.

He took pictures of the statues and rubble but soldiers later confiscated his film, he said, adding that half of the soldiers appeared to be Pakistanis judging by the language they were speaking.

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