A Timeless Country: Afghanistan

Kabul/Mazar-e- Sharif/Sheberghan,Afghanistan / 2013 

The important strategic position of Afghanistan is the main reason of the 35 years of invasion. For countries that aim to rule the world politics, the geopolitical position of Afghanistan is more important than the daily life of children, rich cultural background and honorable history of this country. In Afghanistan, it is possible to encounter several anachronic scenes that resemble a stage of middle age… Slices of daily life that carry the effects of wartime, traditional animal fights and Afghan games that have dense heroic figures somewhat color the life. The main aim of the documentary photograph, to understand an environment and reflecting it, is a hard task when it comes to a place of numerous dramatic stories like Afghanistan. This work, with a plain narrative of daily life, treats the struggle of the people of Afghanistan and the children of this geography that resists war and injustice

For the past 35 years, people of Afghanistan continue to suffer from the ongoing war and its effects. After years of wars, most of the population of the country consists of crippled and uneducated people. International Security Aid Force (ISAF) plans to leave Afghanistan in the following days. Although war in Afghanistan seems to be over on paper, the presence of Taliban in southern and eastern regions of the country continues to delay the reconstruction of country.

Malnutrition, a result of long-lasting wars, leads to serious health issues for children. There are two hospitals in the city, along with one more established by Doctors Without Borders. Newborn babies and young children are treated for free at the MSF hospital. Doctors of MSF also provide awareness training on children health for Afghan mothers.

Afghan girl wears new dress for Newroz celebrations. Afghan girls apply hennah and kisses elder people hands for get the pocket money as a tradition of Newroz Spring Festival.

Newroz day, accepted as the beginning of new year in Central Asian beliefs, is treated like a festival in Afghanistan. All the walk and play on the streets, wearing new clothes.

Afghan young men who do bodybuilding which is extremely popular sport in Afghanistan. Gyms for bodybuilding are widespread in Kabul. Use of chemical supplement cause of serries helth problems among youth.

Telephone and internet usage is quite widespread in Afghanistan. The young especially admire some football stars. Posters of Ronaldo and Messi can be seen all over the city. Body building and football are the most popular sports among youngsters.

The most important one among games is Buzkashi which attracts great attention of public. Buzkashi, which used to play by nomad warriors, is a traditional game showing warrior side of Afghan men due to tough struggle in the play. Buzkashi in Persian compound of “buz” (boz) meaning “goat”, kashi (kas) meaning “dragging, drawing”. It is an old Turkish sport played especially in most regions of Central Asia. Buzkashi, as is known the national sport of Afghanistand today, is performed often at religious and national festivals in the northern areas of Afghanistan.

Buzkashi is an Afghan national sport which is played by two teams of horsemen competing to throw an animal (calf, goat or sheep) carcass into a scoring circle. The goal of the game is to get control of the carcass and bring it to the scoring area. Before the game Afghan horsemen wait in a line and the game begins with the referee’s signal. While one team get the carcass of a calf, other team tries to grap it to throw into scoring circle before them.

Meat vendors can be seen on every corner of Kabul’s streets. Meat is sold both in shops and on roadsides by people who slaughter their own sheep or cattle.

The traditional horse-mounted “Buzkashi” games, which are like an important ritual for the Afghan people, are played on these days and dog fights are held. In spite of Taliban’s prohibition, dog fights take place often on Fridays and on special occassions. The dog fights are generally held secretly and with high stake bets. Trained local shepherd dogs of enormous sizes are used in these fights. The dogs do not fight to death. A green cloaked referee determines the winner and loser, and everyone accepts his decision.