Travels Through Swat

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by Joshua Foust on 7/25/2011 blogger UmairJ is traveling through Swat. His pictures from the trip promise to be stunning, as one would expect from Northwestern Pakistan. Swat, as we all know here, is normally considered a tourist haven (especially for skiing in the winter).

Swat is also where Tantric Buddhism, which forms the foundation of Tibetan Buddhism, first emerged, and there used to be enormous Buddhas there, as big as the destroyed Buddhas at Bamiyan in Afghanistan, as well as temples, artifacts, history, stunning cave art, culture.

I say “used to be” because in 2007 the Pakistani Taliban occupied Swat and destroyed their own giant Buddha to mostly silence in the West. Even though Swat is now on the path of recovery — some of the resorts have re-opened, and things are in general pretty calm — we won’t know for a long time just how much we lost there in the last decade.

Stay tuned for more from Umair over the next week or so.

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This post was written by...

– author of 1848 posts on 17_PersonNotFound.

Joshua Foust is a Fellow at the American Security Project and the author of Afghanistan Journal: Selections from His research focuses primarily on Central and South Asia. Joshua is a correspondent for The Atlantic and a columnist for PBS Need to Know. Joshua appears regularly on the BBC World News, Aljazeera, and international public radio. Joshua's writing has appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review, Foreign Policy’s AfPak Channel, the New York Times, Reuters, and the Christian Science Monitor. Follow him on twitter: @joshuafoust

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