by Abdullah Qazi (March 23, 2008)
Last updated: January 22, 2012

The people of Afghanistan love playing all kinds of sports. The national sport of Afghanistan is buzkashi, a team sport played on horseback.  The most popular sports are football (soccer), followed by cricket. Cricket gained popularity in early 2002, when Afghan refugees who had lived in Pakistan (where cricket is very popular) returned home and brought the sport with them. In fact, Afghanistan and Oman shared the Asian Cricket Council (ACC) Twenty20 Cup in November 2007, an event that featured 10 Asian nations, and on April 9, 2010, they defeated Nepal to win the ACC Trophy Elite. A lot has changed since the fall of the Taliban for Afghan sports and athletes.  For instance, now more women have taken up various types of sports such martial arts, and boxing.  On December 29, 2007, a bodybuilding club for women was inaugurated in Parwan province. During the dark rule of the Taliban, participation by both men and women in many sports were restricted, and buzkashi was even banned. Instead, the Taliban used Kabul’s sports stadium to carry out public executions.

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