18 October 2005 (RFE/RL) -- A former Taliban governor who oversaw the widely condemned destruction of two massive Buddha statues has won a post as a lawmaker in the Afghan national parliament.
Mawlawi Mohammad Islam Mohammadi was chosen in the 18 September voting to fill one of Samangan Province's four seats in the parliament's lower house, the People's Council.
Mohammadi placed a distant second in parliamentary voting in the province, with 9.1 percent support versus Ahmad Khan's 23.9 percent of nearly 110,000 votes, according to the Joint Electoral Management Body's (JEMB) official website.
Mohammadi was the Taliban's governor of Bamiyan Province when the 5th-century Buddha statues were blown up in March 2001, according to AP.
Mohammadi was quoted by AP as saying he should not be held responsible for the destruction of the Buddha statues, which were famed for their size and location along the ancient Silk Road linking Europe and Central Asia. Taliban authorities blew them up despite international protests, claiming they were idolatrous and anti-Muslim.
Mohammadi said it was not his decision to destroy the statues, AP reported.
Samangan is one of four provinces where election officials have certified the results of the balloting.