- Dog Fight
In the 4th poorest country in the World, entertainment on the Muslim weekend (Friday) is very scars. Dog fighting has been a tradition since centuries. The fights were banned during the austere rule of the Taliban, as were less violent forms of entertainment, including movies, music and kite flying.
Dog fighting season (winter) is in full swing in the 'Chaman-e-Babrak' district at the northern end of Kabul. Up to 1000 people gather in the early mornings to see Molossel Dogs (Powerful local Breeds Like Koochee Dogs) fought by strict rules. If a dog shows weakness pulling in it's tail, running away, barking,.... The fight is over. There are no death and only little blood in these fights. The dogs are too important and too expensive to the locals to be killed in the fights. A 3-year-old dog eats donkey meat for around 1000 Afgh. (20 US$) a day, in the 4th poorest country in the world, you can feed a whole family for this money.
A green fabric is pulled between 2 dogs, the second the fabric is removed, the dogs are unleashed and clash into each other, biting and growling. The dogs throw each other over, bite the thick necks and push each other over. It feels like a wrestling match of 2 ancient warriors. The fights only last minutes, if the judge decides a winner the dogs are pulled apart by their owners.
Betting is big business on these fights, but only a few of the spectators in this impoverished capital city actually place bets. The average bet is about US$500 and tops US$1,000 per dog, said 20-year-old Jawad, who has only one name and is a guard who often holds the money. The average monthly salary of a government worker is just $15. No money is seen changing hands at these early morning matches. In a country with the most rudimentary cash economy, no one who can afford to play with that kind of cash wants to risk robbery or worse by being seen throwing it away at the fights. The biggest dog owners and most successful fighters are wealthy warlords and generals. Big money is still made in Opium trade and corruption and these are the only once who can afford to place (and maybe loose) these bets.
The biggest suicide attack (80 dead) of Afghanistan occurred on the dog fight in Kandahar the same day P.Engelhorn shot this story in Kabul. The attack was not against the fights itself, but supposedly to kill Local Police Chief Abdul Hakim, a fierce oppose to the Taliban and big dog owner.
In a statement of 2010, President Karzai announced Dog Fighting as a 'National Herritage'.