December 11th, 2009
04:12 PM ET

Inside the game of buzkashi

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

December 11th, 2009
08:59 AM ET

Can democracy work in Afghanistan?

Kabul, Afghanistan - In Kabul, the mayor has been convicted of corruption, but continues to work as the city leader.  Abdul Ahad Sahebi was sentenced to four years in prison after being judged guilty of awarding a city construction contract without bidding.  Sahebi says there's no proof.  "It is baseless, without any evidence. without any foundation," he says.

The deputy attorney general Fazil Ahmad Faqeer Yar disagrees. "The court has ordered his dismissal," he says. "So everything he is doing now is illegal."

The matter goes to the heart of NATO's new strategy in Afghanistan - additional troops can bring short-term security but the U.S. says Afghanistan's government needs to crack down on rampant corruption as well.

On paper the Afghan government has executive, legislative and judicial branches, with a political model that resembles those of other democratic states. The country has a constitution that provides equality to all. But even as Hamid Karzai was sworn in for a second term as president in November following a fraud-marred election, the international community was pressuring the leader for reform.

The government is plagued with allegations of corruption, cronyism and warlords – with some questioning whether democracy can ever work in Afghanistan. FULL POST