An Afghan woman sits in her cave early in the morning in Bamiyan on November 10, 2009. The cave dwellers here are all Hazara, who are religiously and ethnically distinct and survivors of intense persecution by the Taliban. Bamiyan, some 200 km (124 miles) northwest of Kabul, stands in a deep green and lush valley stretching 100 km through central Afghanistan, on the former Silk Road that once linked China with Central Asia and beyond. The town was home to two nearly 2,000-year-old Buddha statues before they were destroyed by the Taliban, months before their regime was toppled in a US-led invasion in late 2001. By Shah Marai/Getty.