Several of my friends from the trattoria invited me a Buzkashi practice game in the very remote and expansive Shomali plain, several hours outside of Kabul. It was a fertile farming valley surrounded by the great Hindu Kush Mountains. This was where professional riders trained for the big National matches in Kabul and other cities around the country.
Two taxis were hired to shuttle six of us for the long trip. At a crossroads at Charikar in the Parwan Provence we were stopped for an hour during a civil war shoot-out, then were allowed to proceed. We cautiously continued over bumpy roads, then up the very steep and winding Salang Pass through the Hindu Kush Mountains and onto the plain.
As one of only two women there, I was (of course) continually stared at, as was my blond lady friend. I captured some dynamic images of the professional Chapandaz riders and their magnificent steeds on this great field. I would not be wandering down amongst the riders in this wild practice field, it was too dangerous. So, I photographed from the dirt ledge above where all the men were sitting. This valley was where the real Buzkashi training took place and required tremendous stamina as well as great horsemanship. One riding match could go on for days. It could take years for these Chapandaz to gain the great status to compete in the big games in Kabul or other National competitions.