Arts & Entertainment: Afghanistan's rich classical music tradition has been influenced by other Asian countries. No longer forbidden as it was under the Taliban, music is once again a part of daily life and important ceremonies. Each region is known for its unique musical traditions, though regional differences have faded over time. Ustad M.H. Sarahang and Ustad Naim Nazary are two respected modern singers in the classical tradition.
The national instrument of Afghanistan is the rubab. Its four main strings are plucked, and the instrument can be played solo or in vocal and instrumental ensembles. Another popular string instrument is the dutar, which is often accompanied with different hand-played drums.
In a country with low literacy rates, oral narratives are important. Many of these have ancient roots, but others have been modernized according to contemporary developments in Afghanistan. Of any single book, the Koran is the most important, but it is studied in the original Arabic rather than in one of the country's indigenous languages. The national poet of Afghanistan, who wrote in Pashto, is Khushal Khan Khattak.
Afghanis have several sporting traditions. Buzkashi is a gamed played throughout Central Asia. It involves teams of horse riders who attempt to score a goal by moving a salt-filled goat carcass along the field. Kite-flying is also popular. Small or large and very colorful, the kites generally have two children to handle them. The object of the game is to cut the opponent's kite string with one's own.
Afghans excel at making durable, beautiful handcrafts. Flat or piled wool carpets made with natural fibers and dyes on a hand loom are the most famous. Other important crafts include pottery and tile-making, metal and leatherwork, and embroidery.