by Abdul Haleem, Jawid Omid
BAMYAN, Afghanistan, Dec. 12 (Xinhua) -- Hundreds of people including some from the neighboring Baghlan, Wardak and Kabul provinces were seen rushing to Khuchkak valley, a plain just half an hour drive outside Bamyan City, on Friday morning to watch a Buzkashi match between two local teams.
Buzkashi which means "goat grabbing" is a centuries-old traditional game in Afghanistan in which skilled horse riders of rival teams compete to take the slaughtered goat or calf and throw it in a circle fixed on the Buzkashi ground.
"I came from the Tala-o-Barfak district of Baghlan province to watch Buzkashi," Momin Pahlawan, a horse rider, told Xinhua.
Describing Bamyan as the most peaceful province in Afghanistan, Pahlawan said that the peaceful environment and good security here in Bamyan have lured him from Baghlan to come here for entertainment.
"As well as enjoying my leisure time here, I also have the opportunity to challenge the rival team and will be praised by people if I win the game," said Pahlawan confidently.
The central Bamyan province with its peaceful environment, historical monuments, picturesque landscape and overall natural beauty has been regarded as one of the most orderly and secure places in Afghanistan.
Contrary to other parts of insurgency-plagued Afghanistan, security incidents have rarely been reported from Bamyan province over the past more than a decade.
According to locals, the reason for such sustainable peace and stability in Bamyan is the cooperation between the people and the local government.
Reiterating the sound peace and security situation in Bamyan province, another horse rider Mohabat Ibrahim, described the people of Bamyan as peace-loving, and believes that "since the majority of Bamyan residents are of the same ethnicity this helps ensure peace."
Bamyan is a Hazara-dominant province, the third largest group in multi-ethnic Afghanistan.
A trip around Bamyan will demonstrate the fact claimed by its people regarding its safety, as there are no armed people roaming the streets, even in its far-flung villages.
Even at security checkpoints armed security personnel are absent and this makes Bamyan different from other parts of Afghanistan.
Peaceful surroundings, a handful of newly-constructed hotels, hardworking and hospitable people are also luring countless local and foreign tourists annually to Bamyan, according to locals.
Enjoying the Buzkashi here on Friday, half a dozen foreigners joined the hundreds of onlookers on the side of hilltop in the Khuchkak Valley, without needing any security escort.
Availing themselves of the peaceful environment, scores of vendors have established temporary shops to serve fast food and cold drinks to the horse riders and spectators during Buzkashi which lasts for around two hours.
"Since my childhood I have been fond of Buzkashi, it is a traditional game and I love it. I have won first place more than eight times over the past couple of years in several competitions," Ibrahimi, one of the horse riders, said happily.