Teams of riders on horses compete for a goat or calf carcass in the dangerous but exciting game of buzkashi, known as the national sport in Afghanistan. The game has been played for centuries, and many believe it dates back more than 2,000 years to the time when Alexander the Great ruled here.
We ran across a game in progress on the outskirts of Kabul on Friday and captured scenes from the competition. See more of the photos
The main reason we can't abandone the area now is that our great former chief, GW, looked the other way and ignored the surging drug trade in that part of the world and now the Taliban and others not too friendly to us, are making billions from it. Making $$$ gives them the tools to do their deeds, buy off politicians, etc. A big stinking mess.
We invaded Afghanistan because it was a safe haven for a terrorist group supported by the taliban government. This terrorist group was/is responsible for murdering thousands of innocent men women and children all over the world. On September 11, 2001 they executed and attack against American people – where they crashed 4 planes (with innocent men women and children on them) into buildings filled with people. Maybe you vaguely remember that. DBs.
I believe civilization will come once we start respecting every creature on earth as equal. Today we slaughter and eat dead animals including creating factories and farms to harvest them isn't that REALLY barbaric. The cows that give us milk, which helped replace our mother's milk, we slaughter them and indulge in them. Isn't that really barbaric.
I find the comments posted here very entertaining. Afghanistan was actually a nice country with infrastructure and literacy before the Soviet invasion of 1979. 30 years of constant war and struggle for power will cause a country to crumble. I have to say that the Afghani militants are very passionate about their land and that is the reason they have never been conquered. I also believe that America is not in Afghanistan to conquer them but to prevent the Taliban from gaining control and planning terrorist attacks against America. When people say "barbaric", I will completely agree only when it is referred to the Taliban. Afghan people have fallen victim to these crazy barbaric fundamentalists that came over from Pakistan.
In reference to Buzkashi, if you do not respect a sport that has been around for over 2000 years without being changed in any way or form, then you’re an idiot, which has no respect for world history.
Don't forget that during the eighties, these "sportsmen" sometimes used the bodies of Russian soldiers instead of goats.
Up to now, it seems almost funny that there are still americans who think of themselves as a nation that has the exclusive franchise of bringing democracy american style to thirld world nations. Most americans now I think are being made to believe that they can invade any country, destroy their cities and culture even kill some of their people and leaders just to get a terrorist. Then they put up a puppet government that suits americans but promoting anti-american and hatred among the majority of the local populace. Historically, americans always bet on the wrong horse. All the guys they installed to power are percieved to be corrupt. Ngo Din Diem, the Shah of Iran, General Batista of Cuba, Ferdinand Marcos the list goes on and now Kharzai. And this is being done to protect America? What about the rights of other people whom one blogger calls savages. These savages are protecting American interests in getting all the oil in the world and these same savages acts as buffer for the onslaught of the chinese economic invasion of the wold.
Dear A.K. Linder
Thanks for your coment, but remember Taliban are american soldiers, they aren't real Afghans, as it is clear to all Afghans and everybody America made Taliban just for reaching of goals in the meddle east.
if Americans exit our country and do not interfere in our country we woun't have such challenges.
For people who think the game is barbaric please note that the animal is slaughtered before the game begins. they essentially start play with a carcass. now compare that to Boxing, Pro-Wrestling, MMA, Dog Fighting, Cock Fighting and of course Bull Fighting (not American but desereves a mention). infact if any one wishes to talk about animal cruelty Bull Fighting is its pinacle.
if it were all about the oil, we would have invaded when the shah was toppled, or when OPEC embargoed us, or any of the other dozen times our oil supply in the middle east was threatened and even compromised in the past. why didn't we invade then?
i don't care how anyone feels about the war, but using such a shoddy piece of reasoning is just embarrassing, and it astounds me that people still repeat it.
I'm reading about the history of Afghanistan, written by Englishmen in the early 1800's:
An Account of the Kingdom of Caubul, and Its Dependencies in Persia, Tartary, and India,
by Lord Mountstuart Elphinstone
A personal narrative of a vist to Ghuzni, Kabul, and Afghanistan, and of a residence at the court of Dost Mohamed, by Godfrey Thomas Vigne
History of Afghanistan from the Earliest Period to the Outbreak of the War, by George Bruce Malleson
History of the war in Afghanistan, Volume 1, by Sir John William Kaye
History of the war in Afghanistan, Volume 2, by Sir John William Kaye
All manuscripts are available free as PDFs on Google Books, and make great reading.
Vigne says no part of Europe was comparable to the civilization of Afghanistan. Before it was plundered, it was an empire of castles and vineyards much finer than any in Europe during the Middle Ages under William the Conqueror, when the royals and rentiers owned all the lands. The lamasery in Bamiyan Valley. where Alexander the Great settled, was once as fine as the lamasery in Tibet, and the Bactrian gold artifacts are some of the finest in the world. Even in his 1800's visit, Vigne said he'd never seen such bountiful gardens and orchards, anywhere, but today we see everything through our corporate TV 'culture', if you can use the words 'culture' and 'idolatry' in the same SYTYCD sentence.
The word "barbaric" has been used a lot here. It comes from the ancient Greeks, who applied it to all their neighbors because to the Greeks the other languages sounded like the bark of a dog, or "bar-bar" in Greek parlance. No doubt to some cultures this is what English sounds like today. No doubt the quaint custom of personal gun ownership–something Americans and Afghans share–seems barbaric to others. As Americans prepare for their "Super Bowl," in which men pummel each other as they try to force pigskin down a narrow field, and the one day that has statistically shown a spike in domestic violence across the nation that celebrates it, they might ask themselves how far from barbarism they have truly come. Launching predator drones and getting other countries to carry out torture on your behalf doesn't push Americans much closer to the goal post of a cultured society, either.
@m.h.: If you think water boarding is barbaric, then perhaps you need a tour of Saddam Hussein's fine interrogation facilities. I hear the plastic shredder log flume was pretty popular. As for then not being accused of anything, combatants do not share in the rights that civilian courts grant and by good reason.
Did anyone notice the Russian tank-crew helmet in the 2nd to last picture?
Afghanistan is littered with the relics of fallen empires: Persian spears, Macedonian sarissas, British muskets & rifles, and Soviet materiel of all kinds.
The occupation of their territory never seems to have much of an effect on their culture, and perhaps M16s will soon be joining the detritus.
On-topic, we played a watered-down buzkashi in middle-school (our teacher traveled there shortly before the soviet invasion). Very challenging and brutal game, guaranteed to make or lose you a lot of friends. Perhaps that's what the bodyguards are for...
....and sh*t is not a five-letter word.
Zarrar, you obviously didn't read the third sentence of my post of the 18th. It says, "Serial killers, mass murderers, child predators, spousal abuse, dogfighting, etc. are all alive and well here in the USA."
All I see is bunch of hypcrites in the comments area. This game is no different than bull fighting, dog fighting, UFC, boxing etc.all done in the western world. And Osborne, America is the most violent country in the world, its just that you hide your Sh**t better.
Personally, I think the sport looks cool. Replace the carcas with something a little less messy and you've got something similar to Quidditch.
As for Osborne's comments, I read them as sarcastic, ironic and somewhat amusing. Don't know why anyone was taking offense. Maybe you all need to watch Stephen Colbert more often.
Finally; Pagan does not mean no faith or no religion. Modern pagans are deeply faithful. I think the use of the word pagan was in parody of how some conservative people refer to anyone who is of a different religion to them (namely evangelical christianity). Using said "heathenism" as an excuse for why they are not protected by the 6th commandment.
If you want to see this game on video pop in a copy of Rambo III. Sylvester Stallone really played the game and even got hurt a little. Rough sport.
I also agree with Ozborne, we continue to pretend that democracy was the best solution for these countries. The facts are bearers of the cold truth – democracy is a trivial objective whereas the true intents are obscured by obfuscation and misdirection. IF we were attacked by a band of terrorist led by Osma Bin Laden and IF Bin Laden was in the hills of Tora Bora, why did we not capture him? I posit that we were never going to capture him. To do so would have ended our war(s) and that wasn't desirable. We would have not pursued the "Weapons of Mass Destruction" in Iraq and the consequent death of the man who attacked Jr.'s poppy. In addition, it is hard to reconcile the poppy fields of Afghanistan with any of our objectives other than the protection of the oil lines that were routed through the area. Now look at our government and how it responds to its own people. We voted for change and guess what we got? The New World Order and international corporate collusion has usurped ALL democracies. Deny it at your own risk but America is gone – the people have lost their most precious heritage, liberty. You are controlled from birth now and tracked for life. Name one element of your life that isn't recorded. observed, or controlled. You have an birth record with a Social Security Number assigned before you leave the hospital, eductation record, a credit record, an employment record, medical records, law infractions, a library card record, transactional records, visiual and audio recordings, phone records, internet records, secret records held by intelligence services and soon, DNA files to keep track of you in your pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness. Of course, all of this is to assure that we are protecting our safety and liberties. HAHAHAHAHA, wow !
It's amazing how few respondents to my post of 12/14 failed to pick up on the actual meaning behind the cynical tone. In response: to "Chris" (12/15), I couldn't agree with you more. To "Dogpatch" (12/15), Webster defines barbaric as 'an idea/act which offends the contemporary standards of acceptability'. Serial killers, mass murderers, child predators, spousal abuse, dogfighting, etc. are all alive and well here in the USA. To Franco (12/15), You left out pitbulls vs. wild boar (popular 'in the sticks'), and "American Idol". To "Don" (12/15), The poppy fields, before our arrival, had been eradicated by the Taliban, as drugs violate Islamic law; now the industry has made a comeback. To "A.K. Linder" (12/15), Let the Afghans rot? I wish harm to no one, but if you expect our presence there to lead to a safe & stable society, you're more optimistic than most. Will the 60,000 destitute children – per CNN (12/14) – and uncounted men & women, in Kabul ALONE, really be handed a better life. That would be great, but that's likely not part of the plan. The primary reason our military is there is very likely to protect the interests of the oil conglomerates, among others; Bin Laden and the terrrorists are secondary. Isn't it strange that the ONE building protected during the bombing of Baghdad (where no terrorists were to be found) was the Oil Ministry, and that Halliburton (VP Cheney's pals) was awarded exclusive contracts to construct seven-plus PERMANENT military bases in Iraq, (in addition to numerous other hightly lucrative contracts), even though we were assured our stay there would be temporary? Our country is governed by Congress, but it is RULED by Big Money (ie, the Federal Reserve – which is as federal as Federal Express – the World Bank, the IMF – International Monetary Fund, et. al.), Big Oil, and a handful of other well-connected, powerful mega-corporations (Halliburton and major defense contractors, among them). Now that Bush is gone, a growing number of congressmen, military higher-ups, and average citizens are questioning the intent of an administration which brought our economy to the brink, compromised the Constitution/Bill of Rights, and initiated two wars which have taken or shattered the lives of hundreds of thousands. It's the right and responsibility of all Americans to investigate ALL POSSIBLE MOTIVES behind the edicts and operations of the men in control. The information in support of all sides is available to anyone willing to be open to the possiblility that ALL administrations have withheld from the American public vital information about the motivation behind their actions. Right or wrong, itls human. Educate yourself.
I, for one, agree with Osborne, at least partially.
The game IS barbaric, whoever cannot accept it should get off his/her high horse and smell the carcass.
Afghanistan as a country IS barbaric - where else in the world do girls get acid sprayed onto them because they dare to go to school?
The whole country is just a one big mess, where people kill each other because they belong to different tribes, parents/brothers kill their daughters/sisters because they "dishonored" the family by having relations with someone they don't approve of, the government is corrupt and is feeding off both drug traffickers and the humanitarian aid we supply to them depending on situation, and finally it's a place that can't even hold proper elections despite the hundreds of thousands of soldier and monitors involved in them.
The question, of course, is what do we do with it and how long will we stay there. Do we support the corrupt and thieving government? Do we stay there indefinitely and keep pouring billions of dollars while folks are losing their homes HERE? Can we even win over the Taliban (considering that we don't even control the country at night)? Will this be another Vietnam for us and our allies in the end? How many more soldiers have to return in coffins? Is there a better solution than this war?
...these are the questions we should be asking, and frankly, I don't know the answer to them. All I know is that Afghanistan is a barbaric state that didn't move forward from the Middle Ages and that for some reason 8 years after invading it we seem to be at a complete stalemate there.
folkz here seem to forget that we will always live in different societiez with different relegionz, rulez, gamez, and on and on. america wants to "walmart-ize" every nation and call it democracy in the form of an ink-stained finger, but only thoze it can exploit for resources. if not, why aren't we in the congo or darfur? the humanity! obama needs to bring all US troopz home NOW ... not in 18 months. if anybody noticed, it waz both bush prezidentz who took america to war ... not for the good of our nation, but more for their own interests with saudis and oil - and egos. let football rule here ... and chazing a dead goat rule there ... az long az we aren't killing each other for thoze differencez ... or for a lunkhead president (s).
Why drag the carcass to the circle? Because there is a circle there!
Osborne, get off your high horse!
the most dangerous weapon of mass destruction is fear
Going after Osama was the correct thing to do. Invading Iraq at the same time was stupid. If we had been more focused on Afghanistan we could have gotten the job done there and been out already. Our latest warmongering president failed at war. Here's hoping this administration can still clean up the mess of the last one.
9-11? We will never forget? We sure seemed to forget about the "Day that shall forever live in infamy," now didn't we? That's right, Japan, now one of our staunchest allies/client stated, attacked us without warning and decimated our Pacific fleet.
Get over it. Two buildings, 4,00 people. In response, we have beggared our nation and destroyed what was left of our foreign relations legitimacy.
Would you yahoos like me to put the brass ring in your nose, our can you do it for yourselves?
Please don't feed the Tolls like Osborne. People like him/her will never respond because they just try and get firsties on anything political. They're as bad as the spam that tries to make your wang bigger, it's just not as obvious.
Trolls should stay under bridges where they belong.
barbaric: isn't that how we treat prisoners of war that haven't been found guilty of anything. this game should be played in the u.s.. washington d.c. should be the arena. lots of blood and oil thristy people there.
Anyone seen osama bin laden? we've killed a lot of innocent civilians to get that guy. maybe we should stop talking about sports and celebrity idiots and more about our friends and children in the wars.
A best ever, by brave people and a very brave entertainment!
1of the Grunts, I could not have said that better myself. And to add to it, Mr. Osborne, I seem to remember a day about 8 years ago when a certain group of people WHO WERE "RUNNING" AFGHANISTAN, had about a dozen of its "citizens" come to our country, hijack airplanes and CRASH THEM INTO THE WORLD TRADE CENTER AND THE PENTAGON, KILLING OVER 3000 PEOPLE!!! That is why we are in Afghanistan, which is what this article is about. And don't think that us being in Afghanistan is about some kind of land route to Iraq for oil, because there's this country in between Afghanistan and Iraq called IRAN, and they don't really like us too much. They don't like us enough to deny the deportation of 3 AMERICANS who were unfortunate enough to cross into their country while hiking in a war zone, just so that they can incarcerate them. Sure, not everyone can be rocket scientists, but whatever. So, take my advice and save your unwanted blathering for some radical conspicary-theory forum, and quit bogging up a respectable news agency's websites with your rubbish.
My point was, "Barbaric" can be used to describe our activities also. I suppose we really don't have the right to call anything short of butchering people for sport "barbaric". It all depends on your perspective. By the way, this sport was also played by Mr. Stallone in a Rambo movie if I remember correctly. If you want to debate the merits of or reasons for us being in the Middle East that is one thing. We should all think before judging other cultures traditions. For example, I don't think a sport involving a dead animal is bad. We tolerate the Running of the Bulls in Spain. We kill animals to make equipment for our sports. We fight each other for entertainment. (no, I am not against any of those things)
I do think a tradition of suppressing women and people with other religious beliefs is bad.
If we stand a chance at changing that, then i believe the sacrifices that have been made and that will be made are worth it. (I say that having many family members who have served in the past as well as currently serving in the military)
We need to make sure the right decisions are being made there that will allow us to be successful and leave them to their own future. The training wheels need to come off at some point.
Bringing democary to Afghanistan is like bringing democacy to a herd of cats. Ain't gonna happen. Triban culture rules there and should be left alone to fester along at it's own pace and to hlep maintain politicAL "biodiversity" on the planet. You can't have the light without the dark, and this place is, politically speaking, the dark.
I think it is very interesting to see what other cultures do for entertainment. This certainly is no worse than Boxing, UFC and Cock or Dog fighting that we as a culture partake in. Talk to Michael Vick about the Dog fighting!! If I had the time and the financial resources I would certainly travel the world to experience these cultures. We have some individuals here that think pretty highly of themselves and "Our" way of life, and I don't mean that in a good way either!! The lack of understanding and tolerance towards other cultures and their way of life is what has promoted strife among people and has been the cause of conflicts and has caused countless deaths over the years. Bottom line here is live and let live, everybody is different!! So don't show your ignorance!!
R. A. Osborne, Do you really think that our intensions over in the middle east souly foccus on oil? You really think that is the soul reason why men and women like myself are fighting over there. Here is a tip, get out of your house and walk to the nearest gas station and ask yourself one question. Why have my gas prices gone through the roof over the last 9 years if we are securing places like Iraq for our use of their oil. We and I say WE have taken our jobs, are lifestyles, and our responsibilities as American's and cast them aside. You might have the right to freedom of speech but you use it as a punch line because you think you have been wrong. What sacrifice have you or anybody around you have made in service for your country. I say (service) as in picking up a weapon and defending the country in one of our armed forces, but as in someone that helps the sick, the dieing, the poor, someone in law enforcement, fire fighting, or just helping out someone that isn't able to help another. If you are then great start preaching about that rather than why the world is changing and you want to live in a society that pretends the world isn't getting smaller by the minute.
It is obvious that some of the progressive people in this discussion have never lived in Afghanistan, Just a few observations from someone who has. Afghans are NOT pagan, they are deeply religious. The term Afghani is the monitary unit and should not be used when referring to the poeple, the culture or any other aspect of Afghanistan. While the sport in question does appear on the surface as a "no-holds-barred" barbarian fete of horsemanship and brutality, it does do something for all the people of the country in terms of entertainment and tying them to the roots of their heritage. Remember that the Afghan people are not all of the same genetic or cultural heritage and anything that can bring them together and unite them should be looked upon as potentially a good thing. Tolerance and trying to understand other cultures goes a long way in bringing harmony to foreign relations at an individual level and in terms of the world community.
Looks like Osborne forgot why we are in Afghanistan. It appears Osborne would like to have a similar event like 9/11 to happen again within our borders. A real American will not forget what happened within our borders. and so something to stop it from happening again. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda must be defeated to make our country and the world safer. That means fighting them in Afghanistan or where they run to. I would rather fight them outside our borders, not from within.
Osborne apparently has no repsect for other people and their culture inluding our own. Buzkhaski maybe barbaric, but it is a sport that has been around for years and is a respected sport in that region of the world, and is what this story is about.
Oil and real estate are not the reasons we are in Afghanistan; It is the terrorist and supporters of terrorism and the fact that the people of Afghanistan need and want our help against the evils in their country. Osborne you need a reality check and respect for the USA..
Yes, we are such a thoughtful, progressive, and wealthy country. Our sports are so sophisticated – Pro Wrestling. Ultimate fighting. Rodeos. Somewhat shadier, but oh so popular Dog Fighting. And yes, we are progressive – just look at our other entertainments, like Reality TV.
Agree or disagree with the policies that our government has used/is using. Let's not, however, try to make the US into something it isn't. Progressive, wealty and thoughtful certainly does NOT describe us as a nation. Let us also not denigrate others for their "sports" choices or relative level of sophistication in activities.
What precisely does the term "barbaric" even mean? Other than "we look down on them because they are not like us"?
There are plenty of things about Afgan society I take a dim view of...presumably vice-versa...but this whole 'barbaric' line of discussion is not all that helpful to anyone but our enemies, of which we have our share.
A fascinating "sport", more akin to warfare. An excellent film record of this "game" and its importance to Aghan culture and the esteem and honor it once brought to its' adherents and participants is found in a film starring Omar Sharif and Jack Paalnce filmed in 1970 on location in Afghanistan. Sharif actually participated in a buzkhasi with native participants. The filming of the actual game was magnificent and entirely unstaged, in fact Sharif was slightly injured from whips used in the match. For anyone interested in this savage game, this filmed sequance is probably on of the best examples of the brutality and savagery of this national sport. It certainly says a lot about the toughness and determination of these tribal groups.
And to the people that say football and MMA are barbaric they have no idea. What an class a craphole and we are now committed to be there for next 10 years. I guess the poppy trade thanks us. I understand protecting America and all but perhaps we need to find a new way to deal with failed states that threaten us (something a little more green than Nukes but same affect).
I could be wrong, but the originally, stated objective in invading Afghanistan was decidedly not to bring democracy to that Country, as the comment from R.A. Osborne would have us believe. It was to hunt down and bring Osama bin Laden to justice, "dead or alive" (as stated by His Excellency George W. Bonaparte, Empire Builder and Bully of Third World Countries,) as I recall. And bringing democracy to Iraq was also not the prime directive: It was to rid the World of Saddam's imaginary Weapons of Mass Destruction. Notwithstanding Osborne's distaste for Afghani barbarism, why don't we keep to one subject and not exaggerate (or worse) a failed, meandering and misguided strategy.
Right, Osborne, we should just let the Afghans rot because they're not wealthy or powerful enough for us rich, "progressive", Americans. Let the Taliban murder and maim the whole society. I mean, they just don't have enough oil for our interests.
Barbaric, yes, Our version is just more refined, We play games with pigskin and cow skin. We also put each other in cages and beat ourselves to a pulp. It is just a matter of perspective.
Just viewed the photos of Afghanistan's National Sport: men on horseback fighting to be the one who gets to drag an animal carcass into a circle drawn in the dirt of a vacant lot. Participants include the most well-respected men of the community. Seeing this, a thinking person might ponder why it is that the planet's "wealthiest" and "most progressive" country (us) is at the same moment sacrificing its young men in battles there to bring DEMOCRACY to a society still contentedly rooted in behavior that can accurately be described as barbaric. A society (ruled exclusively by men because women don't count) which violates more than a few of the values Americans strive to uphold. Hopefully, even the non-thinking observer might deduce that there just might be a "hidden agenda" here. (HHhhhmmm).
They got oil? Nope. But they got the real estate that lies between where the oil IS and where those (really compassionate) owners of good ole' America's oil Conglomerates need it TO BE!. Kinda reminds one of that "Bring DEMOCRACY TO IRAQ War." Remember? That's that Middle East country that got all them oil fields. The one we invaded – NO! LIBERATED! awhile back. Gosh, I bet all them folks in Iraq – and now Afghanistan – are grateful that the government of the good ole' USA noticed how much they was suffrin' and swooped in there just ta save'm (and get them terrorists, too)! I can't wait 'til all them compassionate men who run this great country of mine can find another pagan type a'country that's infested with them terrorists and needs us to rescue'em!
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