The men and boys waiting in line will turn to flatten themselves against the wall, giggling in excitable fear. Following nearly a decade of bloodshed in which an estimated one million civilians were killed, the Soviet withdrawal in 1989 gave rise to a brutal civil war that ultimately saw the birth of the Taliban in the mid-1990s.Despite a new war raging in the hills and valleys of the provinces, the first decade of the new millennium was imbued with a sense of hope in Kabul and is telling of Afghanistan's stamina in the face of violence.For many men in Afghanistan, sports — often violent in nature — as entertainment are as ingrained in Friday's routine as prayer.
Ancient blood sports were given tacit approval by the government and police.
Betting and hash smoking went hand in hand with these events, but for the most part they remained incident-free.
In keeping with Afghanistan's volatility in recent decades, however, things are changing.
And now photojournalist Andrew Quilty has captured in these stunning images and gripping report how they are as much a part of Fridays as mosque and prayer for some Afghans after the fall of the Taliban.
At the top of a dusty hill in central Kabul, Hasan walks his dog, Diwana, alongside an empty Soviet-era swimming pool.
The leash in his hand is doubled for strength and attached to a body harness made out of a heavy leather.It is fastened around the dog's neck and waist as if for a horse to pull a cart.Above them, a giant Afghan flag flaps in the cold air at the top of a flagpole that stretches some 260 feet into the sky.In a few hours, Hasan and Diwana will drive half an hour to the capital's eastern outskirts, where the Afghan National Security Forces' presence runs thin, ceding to local strongmen who pay gunmen to provide at least a sense of security.Popular: A chapandaz (horseman) on a white horse reaches for the calf carcass as two teammates protect him from rival riders during a buzkashi match in Afghanistan's Panjshir Valley.This is one of the country's most loved sports When they arrive at the gate to the mud-walled compound, men in military fatigues carrying Kalashnikovs will pause their body searches as Diwana — 5 feet tall on hind legs, ears clipped, and with bloodshot eyes matching his henna-daubed coat — muscles his great frame out of the car.