Afghanistan National Sport: Buzkashi

Afghanistan, a country rich in culture and traditions, is home to the most fascinating and unique Afghanistan National Sport – Buzkashi. In this article, we’ll explore the history of Buzkashi, how it’s played, its significance to Afghan culture, and much more. So, let’s dive in!

Buzkashi is a traditional Afghan sport that has been played for centuries. It involves horse riding, teamwork, and skillful control of a dead goat or calf carcass. The game is typically played by two teams of horsemen, with the objective being to score points by carrying the carcass to the opposing team’s goal.

History of Afghanistan National Sport

Buzkashi has deep roots in Afghan culture and is believed to have been played as early as the 10th century. The game was originally played by nomadic tribes as a way to hone their riding and hunting skills. Over time, it became a popular sport in the region and was even played by Afghan kings and nobility.

During the Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan, Buzkashi was banned as it was seen as an un-Islamic and violent activity. However, the sport has regained popularity in recent years, with international tournaments being held and the Afghan government promoting it as a symbol of national identity.

How Buzkashi is Played

The game of Buzkashi is played on a large field, with each team consisting of up to 10 horsemen. The carcass used in the game is typically a goat or calf that has had its head and limbs removed. The object of the game is for the horsemen to pick up the carcass from the ground and carry it to the opposing team’s goal.

The game is divided into two 45-minute periods, with a 15-minute break in between. There are no set rules for how the game is played, and it can be quite rough and physical, with players jostling and pushing each other for control of the carcass. The winning team is the one that scores the most goals by placing the carcass in the opposing team’s goal.

Significance of Afghanistan National Sport

Buzkashi is more than just a sport in Afghanistan – it’s a symbol of national identity and pride. It’s played during important national holidays and celebrations, and is often seen as a way to honor the country’s history and traditions.

The sport is also a way for Afghan men to showcase their bravery, horsemanship, and physical prowess. Many young boys grow up dreaming of becoming Buzkashi players, and it’s not uncommon for families to invest significant amounts of money in their children’s training and equipment.


Q: Is Buzkashi a dangerous sport?

A: Yes, Buzkashi can be quite dangerous, with players often suffering injuries from falls and collisions.

Q: Is Buzkashi only played in Afghanistan?

A: No, Buzkashi is also played in other Central Asian countries such as Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

Q: Are there any rules in Buzkashi?

A: There are no official rules in Buzkashi, and the game can be quite chaotic.

Q: Is Buzkashi only played by men?

A: Yes, traditionally Buzkashi has been a male-only sport, although there have been efforts in recent years to promote women’s Buzkashi.

Q: Is Buzkashi recognized as an official sport by the Afghan government?

A: Yes, Buzkashi is recognized as the national sport of Afghanistan, and there are efforts to promote it on an international


  • “Buzkashi: Afghanistan’s Brutal and Ancient National Pastime.” Time.
  • “Buzkashi: Afghanistan’s National Sport.” BBC News.
  • “Buzkashi: The Ancient Afghan Sport Played with a Dead Goat.” The Guardian.

Featured Image Credits: ATIF ARYAN/Getty Images

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