Buzkashi is not only dangerous game to play, but also dangerous game to watch. Aggressive horses may run on and step on spectators, and may cause stampede among panicked spectators.
Mazar-e-Sharif, 20 March 2008
Buzkashi, the national game of Afghanistan, is an ancient game played throughout the steppes of Central Asia. At a glance, it is like a modern polo game, with the ball replaced by headless goat carcass, being the target of grabbing of the aggressive horse riders. The game can be very brutal, and fatal. Legend says that the Mongol Emperor Genghis Khan brought the game to the mountainous Afghanistan in the 13th century. The game is mainly played during the colder winter months, and more popular in the northern part of the country, including Mazar-e-Sharif and Kabul. Buzkashi was banned by the Taliban regime, which condemned it as immoral. During the celebration of Persian New Year (Naoruz), a great buzkashi match is usually held in Mazar-e-Sharif, participated by some hundreds of the best buzkashi riders from all over the world. The great game of buzkashi crystalizes all Afghan qualities: bravado, power, cooperation, struggle, pride and honesty.
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