Buzkashi: Afghanistan's Traditional Sport
Lens Magazine|September 2021
The history of Buzkashi dates back to ancient times, and the name of this sport means killing goats, which is taken from the hunting of mountain goats by horse heroes.
By Sayed Habib Bidel

The history of Buzkashi dates back to ancient times, and the name of this sport means killing goats, which is taken from the hunting of mountain goats by horse heroes.

Buzkashi began among the nomadic Asian tribes who came from farther north and east spreading westward from China and Mongolia between the 10th and 15th centuries in a centuries-long series of migrations that ended only in the 1930s. From Scythian times until recent decades, Buzkashi has remained a legacy of that bygone era.

During the first rule of the Taliban regime, Buzkashi was banned in Afghanistan, as the Taliban considered the game immoral. However, after the Taliban regime was ousted in 2001, the game resumed being played.

BASIC RULES

  • THE GROUND HAS A SQUARE LAYOUT WITH EACH SIDELONG.
  • EACH TEAM CONSISTS OF TEN RIDERS.
  • ONLY FIVE RIDERS FROM EACH TEAM CAN PLAY IN HALF.
  • THE TOTAL DURATION OF EACH HALF IS 45 MINUTES.
  • THERE IS ONLY ONE 15 MINUTE BREAK BETWEEN THE TWO HALVES.
  • THE GAME IS SUPERVISED BY A REFEREE.

Buzkashi is one of the local sports in Afghanistan; in this sport, two teams face each other, each team has ten riders, and then throw the already killed goat in a white circle so that the team players will catch it. Then the other team tries to take the goat from the opponent, any team that completes a full round around the Buzkashi field and brings the goat into the white circle will be the winner.

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