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Aug. 19, 2021, 10:46 a.m. EDT

Taliban blow up statue of Shiite militia leader

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By Associated Press

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — The Taliban have blown up the statue of a Shiite militia leader who had fought against them during Afghanistan’s civil war in the 1990s.

The statue depicted a militia leader killed by the Taliban in 1996, when the Islamic militants seized power from rival warlords.

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Abdul Ali Mazari was a champion of Afghanistan’s ethnic Hazara minority, Shiites who were persecuted under the Sunni Taliban’s earlier rule.

The statue stood in the central Bamyan province, where the Taliban infamously blew up two massive 1,500-year-old statues of Buddha carved into a mountain in 2001. The Taliban claimed the Buddhas violated Islam’s prohibition on idolatry.

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