Afghans Revive Goat-Carcass Sport
Buzkashi draws sponsors in post-Taliban economy
By Harry Kimball, Newser Staff
Posted Nov 18, 2009 11:49 AM CST
Afghanis watch as horsemen play Buzkashi, Afghanistan's national sport.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – Not even the Taliban managed to kill it, and now buzkashi, the national sport of Afghanistan, is thriving again, attracting corporate sponsors and emboldening its boosters to contact Olympics officials, with the ambition of building an international following. Did we mention it’s a virtually rule-less polo-like game played by men on horseback fighting over a goat or calf carcass?

“It's very violent,” one owner of buzkashi horses tells USA Today. “Animal rights activists wouldn't like it.” There is a single rule: “You cannot hit the other” riders—with your whip. That’s only to be used on horses. Other violence, including broken bones and death by trampling, is not uncommon. Enthusiasts say they would agree to play with a dummy carcass if necessary to woo an international following. An Olympics spokesman wasn't convinced that would work: “I'm not sure it's a universal sport."