'The day I blew up the Bamiyan Buddhas'

For nearly 1,500 years, two giant Buddhas carved into sandstone cliffs close to the town of Bamiyan in central Afghanistan dominated the surrounding landscape.

Over 50 metres high, the Bamiyan Buddhas were carved by monks in the 6th Century when the town was an important religious centre along the Silk route linking China to the West.

In 2001, the Taliban leader Mullah Omar ordered their destruction on religious grounds to the horror of many around the world.

His forces first tried using anti-aircraft guns and artillery but this proved ineffective.

Ultimately, groups of local men were drafted into laying tonnes of dynamite to blow them up.

Sayid Mirza Hossein, then a local farmer, was forced to help the effort over several weeks. He told Witness about the devastating effect of the destruction.

Witness is a programme of the stories of our times told by the people who were there.