Buzkashi – The National Sport of Afghanistan

You have seen the acts of abuse routinely carried out against horses in North American and European sports. Here is a rare look at Buzkashi (referred locally as “goat grabbing,”) the National Sport of Afghanistan, where what they term horsemanship is brutal and often savage.

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Images by Richard Dunwoody from his Facebook Page who recently visited the country.

About Buzkashi

Across northern Afghanistan, as well as in neighboring Central Asian states, the winter sport of Buzkashi has been an enduring pastime for centuries, dating back to the time of Genghis Khan.

The object of the game is for a member of two competing teams to pick up the carcass of a decapitated calf or goat from the ground, carry it around a flag, and return it to a circle in front of the judges.

During Taliban rule, many of the top players fled their villages or fought with the Northern Alliance. Others left the country. But now the pros are trickling back. Teams from local villages play each other, typically after Friday prayers. Sometimes matches are held to celebrate a wedding or the birth of a son; other times tournaments take place in which thousands of horsemen participate.

Buzkashi in America?

In a report filed by Sportsman’s Daily Wire Service, “Headless Goat Found in Topless Bar; Six Afghan Buzkashi Players Held“, it details an incident involving Buzkashi players in a New York club.

    How six fierce-looking men from a remote region in Afghanistan, clad in elaborate ethnic garb, reeking of sweat, livestock and alcohol, found themselves at the Rack and Loin remains a mystery.

    Sal the Day Manager was called.

“I see a goat without a head I’m thinking, where’d I see this before,” said Sal, a short, powerfully built man in his late 30s. “Then it hits me, I saw it on ESPN some time back, guys on horses going at it, battling over a headless goat. Those are some tough hombres. Out of respect, I had drinks sent over and offered to have the goat cooked and served over cous cous for a late lunch. All that pulling and stretching tenderizes the meat; I was looking forward to it.”

    Before police could arrive on the scene, a health inspector there to investigate an unrelated complaint found a drunk kitchen worker claiming to be “tenderizing” the fetid, already quite tender goat carcass, and immediately ordered the Rack and Loin shut down until further notice.

    Word of the incident reached Afghanistan’s ambassador to the US, Said T. Jawad, who issued a brief statement.

“While this was in many ways and on many levels, deeply regrettable, it’s a comfort knowing that Afghan athletes, while sheltered from most aspects of 16th, let alone 20th century living, are every bit as arrogant, boorish and out-of-control as big American sports stars. While we would have preferred another venue, we’re delighted to have had this opportunity to expose American sports fans to our national game. When you break it down, buzkashi has everything an American sports fan could want – it’s football, hockey and barbecue rolled into one. Once we develop rules, establish a scoring system and find something more compatible with the Western palate, like lamb or turkey, to take the place of goat, I predict we’ll look back on this incident as the moment the American public fell in love with the great game of buzkashi.”

As if we need any more horse abuse, to import this type of barbarism. -Ed.

7 thoughts on “Buzkashi – The National Sport of Afghanistan”

  1. The problem is that these people have no heart or compassion for anything living creature. And the excuse, because its always been that way, doesn’t not fly when you are talking about cruelty to any living thing, Humans or Animals. It is disgraceful to even try to defend this as a “sport”. They should have been deported back to Afganistan immediately.


    1. calm down elizabeth the animal is dead…. maybe we should deport you for being racist? what an inhumane ideology…. If you don’t support the ‘sport’ because of how you see it as animal cruelty then okay but that last statement is completely unnecessary and racist. People like you is what holding the human race back from being the best we can


      1. The U.S. has enough animal cruelty of its own without importing these sorts of barbaric activities in the name of “sport”. I think that’s the gist of it.

        How quick people are to scream racism when people object to their disgusting ideologies. Cruelty is cruelty, barbarism is barbarism, no matter where it comes from.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. glad you agree with me. I never screamed ‘racism’, just claimed that the last statement was racist. Never said not supporting the sport was racist. calm down as well


  2. Babies used to be exposed at birth if they were perceived to have defects-let nature take its course. That was tradition, culture. What a group of people have done for centuries in the name of tradition or culture is not a sound argument. It is merely trying to defend barbarity because they love the excitement and ego boosting they get from it. This is not a good sign in a man, but a warning signal.

    A diplomat’s challenge is making something unpalatable taste sweet in the mind of the hearer. He had to get it, to defend it.


  3. Strange the diplomat doesn’t express any regret over tug of war over a decapitated animal. Doesn’t he even sort of get it?


  4. Just let them try it. There will be thousands of complaints going to the local humane
    societies no matter what town its in. As I posted before all you have to do is look at the terrible distress these horses are in from the homemade bits and the way the animals heads are being jerked around. If I had my way there would not be one horse, mule or donkey in any of these third world piles of……


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