AFGHANISTAN ends up being the dumping ground for things that nobody else in the world wants—smashed shipping containers, broken-down lorries, scrapped weapons, bapd Indian drugs and even radioactive waste pilfered from the ex-USSR. It would be the perfect place for the British to dispose of their mad cows. The Afghans go through a lot of young cows in a game called buzkashi. Granted, it would take even the most fanatic buzkashi player quite a while to use up Britain's millions of unwanted cows, but maybe the Afghans might be too tired from playing buzkashi to bother shooting at each other. Buzkashi is as close to open warfare as any sport practised on earth. Instead of using a ball, the buzkashi players, all on horseback, fight over a calf carcass.
Back in the days of Genghis Khan (he's still referred to respectfully as "Mr Genghis" in Mazar-e-Sharif), buzkashi was played with prisoners of war instead of a dead animal. To ready the calf for buzkashi, the animal is slaughtered, its head and hooves are chopped off, and it is filled with sand to raise its weight to about 100 lb. Then the carcass is soaked in cold water, making it slimy, heavy and impossible to hold. Up to a thousand horsemen can play, with the game ranging over many miles of desert. The object is to steal the buz, carry it around a flag off in the distance, dump it into a chalked-out ring and collect the prize money. Whoever clings to the carcass is pursued by hordes of other riders who use whips, fists and kicks to steal it.