Buzkashi is a Central Asian sport in which horse-mounted players attempt to place a goat or calf carcass in a goal.
Today games similar to buzkashi are played by several Central Asian ethnic groups such as the Kyrgyz, Turkmens, Kazakhs, Uzbeks, Uyghurs, Hazaras, Tajiks and Pashtuns. In the West, the game is also played by Afghan Turks (ethnic Kyrgyz) who migrated to Ulupamir village in the Van district of Turkey from the Pamir region. In western China, there is not only horse-back buzkashi, but also yak buzkashi among Tajiks of Xinjiang.
Buzkashi is the national sport and a “passion” in Afghanistan where it is often played on Fridays and matches draw thousands of fans. Whitney Azoy notes in his book Buzkashi: Game and Power in Afghanistan that “leaders are men who can seize control by means foul and fair and then fight off their rivals. The Buzkashi rider does the same”. Traditionally, games could last for several days, but in its more regulated tournament version, it has a limited match time.