Photos: Mining operation threatens Buddhist icons

Published 1:01 PM ET, Fri September 21, 2012
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A Buddhist statue overlooks a Chinese government-owned mining compound in Logar province, Afghanistan. Mes Aynak, a 2,600-year-old Buddhist site, could be destroyed in December to create a massive copper mine. Courtesy Brent Huffman
Locals from relocated villages near Mes Aynak remove dirt and rocks to expose buried artifacts. Courtesy Brent Huffman
A gold-plated Buddha head found at Mes Aynak. A team of international archaeologists is scrambling to save relics. Courtesy Brent Huffman
Abdul Qadeer Temore, lead Afghan archaeologist, works on one of the large standing Buddha statues. Courtesy Brent Huffman
People work at one of the many archaeological excavation sites at Mes Aynak. In 2009, the mining company gave archaeologists three years to excavate the site. Courtesy Brent Huffman
French specialist Philippe Marquis, director at DAFA, the French archaeology delegation in Afghanistan, talks with the leader of the local workers at Mes Aynak. Courtesy Brent Huffman
A five-foot statue of a Buddhist devotee was recovered from Mes Aynak. Courtesy Brent Huffman