Asia Grace

Buzkashi game

near Kholm, Afghanistan

Traditionally this game is played on Friday afternoons (the Muslim "Sunday") on an empty field out of town. The goal of the game is to pick up a goat or calf carcass and haul it around a distant pole and then dump it back into a circle. The person (or team) who manages this wins that round. Everyone else is trying to stop you and do it themselves. There appear to be no other rules. A short hand for the game might be "a free-for-all" on horses, although a literal translation of buzkashi (spelled different ways) is "goat ball."

Games can entail dozens or hundreds of participants. Each round is financed by a sponsor, so the winner is given cash. He struts his horse forward to the tent where the big-wigs sit, and he is handed the money. Both the pros (who travel town to town) and the locals play in the same game.

So where did I take this picture from? I was sitting on a hillside, much like the one across the valley, where all the other men were sitting (no women), almost like stadium seats. It was late afternoon in early winter, when there was more free time for such pursuits.

Share your story

Order this print

Your Story

You may know more about this scene than I do, or you may have an amazing story revolving around a similar thing you saw. I'd love to hear it. Submit your story below, and if it's appropriate I'll post it here for all to read. For the benefit of a larger audience, please use English, even if it is not the best English.