Rider in the storm

Since 9/11, Afghanistan's national sport of buzkashi has become as complicated as the country itself

Updated: September 11, 2011, 9:54 AM ET
By Carl Hoffman | ESPN The Magazine

This story appears in the Sept. 19, 2011 issue of ESPN The Magazine.

There aren't a lot of bats, balls or rackets in northern Afghanistan. There are goats, horses, men and dusty plains, and they have been there ever since Genghis Khan and his Mongol horde swept into the neighborhood in the 13th century. Their game, then, is simple. Men on horseback grab a goat from a chalk circle, carry it around a pole and drop it into another circle. No downs, innings, line judges or refs. Sometimes ...

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