Cockfighting in Kabul

18 photos

Cockfighting, known as “Murgh Janghi” in the Afghan Dari language, is a popular game among Afghans during the winter season, which was banned by the Taliban rulers. The heels and bills of the birds are sharpened before fights, which run around 4-6 rounds. Each round lasts between 10 to 20 minutes with a gap of 5 minutes in between bouts. Some 100,000 to 200,000 Afghanis ($2,000 to $4,000 USD) can exchange hands among spectators placing bets during these fights.

Reuters photographer Omar Sobhani and Getty Images photographer Shah Marai captured today’s cockfight in Kabul.

MORE ON COCKFIGHTING: Abhorred by animal rights activists around the world, cockfighting may be one of the earliest spectator sports with traces back to 4000 BC Persia. Despite being illegal in all 50 states, The Humane Society claims that cockfights still occur today and describes cockfighting in the following way:

Left to themselves, roosters almost never hurt each other badly. In cockfights, on the other hand, the birds often wear razor-sharp blades on their legs and get injuries like punctured lungs, broken bones and pierced eyes—when they even survive.