– Gameness til the End
Chronicle Staff and News Services
Published 5:54 pm, Saturday, December 21, 2013
In these photos, Afghan men watch a cockfighting match in Kabul.
For generations, roosters have been bred for fighting.
Under the Taliban, cockfighting was banned as un-Islamic.
Photo: Rahmat Gul, Associated Press
For generations, cockfighting has been popular among Afghan men, who breed roosters for fighting. Before a match, a council or jirga is typically held, where respected elders assess the contenders, decide how the birds should be matched, and establish rules of play and how wagering will be conducted. Thousands of dollars often exchange hands among spectators placing bets in a country where the annual per capita income is around $1,000. The roosters are bloodied and sometimes blinded before a winner is decided. Some may even be pecked to death.
Outside of Kabul, Afghan men make other animals fight for the “fun” of watching and for gambling on the outcome. They include camels, rams, dogs, bulls and quails.
Animal fighting and gambling was banned as un-Islamic under the Taliban’s 1996-2001 government. In 2008, some 80 people were killed by a suicide bomber at a dog fight in Kandahar. But animal fighting has made a swift comeback after the Islamic fundamentalists were ousted from power and is once again a feature of daily life.