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Q: In Afghanistan, boxing and bodybuilding gyms seem to be everywhere. Yet I don’t see many beefed-up Afghans. What’s up with that?

A: Like many fun things, bodybuilding was banned under the Taliban. However, after the American invasion in 2001 toppled the Taliban from power, gyms dedicated to the sport mushroomed in Kabul, the capital.

Today, estimates in newspaper reports place the number of bodybuilding gyms in Kabul between 50 and 100. It’s just one of several sports that are making a comeback after the Taliban.

About the lack of beefy Afghans: according to the United Nations, Afghanistan has the fourth-highest malnutrition rate in the world. And as any gym rat knows, you can’t get big without, well, eating.

Got a question about goings-on in the Mideast? E-mail Stripes at: news@estripes.osd.mil


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